Skip to main content

Full text of "Fantasy & Science Fiction v043n04 (1972 10)"

See other formats


THE MAGAZINE OF 

Fantasy and 


Science Fiction 










r 4 ^ 1 1 



iffl 





1 Ly A wiT«l 






















r 

f 





i 

.f‘A ■■ -*■•* 


«» 





It's heady (are: packed with 
pleasure and excitement... 
crammedwithits own rewards. 
And its own definite risks. In 
fact, some people have never 
recovered from first readings; 
they're hooked for life. 

And you'll know why, once 
you've sampled and savored 
these three science fiction 
masterpieces. 

THE HUGO WINNERS, an 
864-page anthology of 23 
prize-winners. They're the tales 
picked as best— awarded the 
HUGO, speculative fiction's 
equivalent of the Oscar- by 


the people who really know. 
The World Science Fiction Con- 
vention. And they're just the 
right beginning (or your excit- 
ing science fiction adventure. 

Next, there's DUNE, by 
Frank Herbert, the acclaimed 
winner of both The Hugo and 
Nebula awards. It creates a 
frightening yet feasible world... 
as fabulous and freaksome as 
the creatures who inhabit it. 

Completing this terrific 
threesome is THE GODS 
THEMSELVES, Isaac Asimov's 
first full-length novel in fifteen 
years.The master's never been 


in better form. It's a thrilling 
story of a world threatened with 
total destruction by the un- 
checked advances of science. 
You'll agree that the wait (or 
Asimov's newest was worth it. 

These three books- mas- 
terpieces all— sell (or a total of 
$27.35 in their original pub- 
lishers' editions. Choose them, 
or any 3 books on this page for 
Just tot (to help cover ship-' 
ping), and you're on your way to 
mind-bending membership in 
the Science Fiction Book Club. 
Join now... you needn't send 
any money, we'll bill you later. 


ANYSsCKNCE FICTION inti 
BEST SEILERS FOR JUST III 


S532. The Hueo 
Winners, Vol.lfi It. 
Giant 2-in-l volume of 
23 award-winning 
stories. 1955 to 1970. 
Asimov introduces 
each. Pub. ed. $15.45 


6247. The Wrong End 
ofTime. John Brunner. 
Threatened with 
destruction. America 
and Russia search tor 
the only man capable 
of saving the world. 
Pub. ed.$4.95 


8011. The World 
Inside. Robert Silver' 
berg. Shocking view of 
24tn century, when 
man lives in giant 
lowers with total 
sexual freedom. 

Pub. ed, $4.95 


2790 Sciettce Fictiori 
Halt of Fame!. 26 

■ winners." chosen by 
Set-Fi Writers of 
AfTiertca Ed. Robert 
Silverberg Pub. ed. 
$7.95 


6270. Dune by Prank 
Herbert. Celebrated 
winner of Hugo and 
Nebula. Gripping tale 
of family exiled from 
their private planet to 
another, a barren 
desert. Pub ed. $5 95 

0448. Mutant 59; The 
Plastic Eaters by Kit 
Pedler and Gerry 
Davis. New bacteria 
goes berserk causing 
London to melt. Pub 
ed.$5.95 

8029. From This 
Day Forward by John 
Brunner. 13 spell- 
binding tales by the 
HUGO award-winning 
author of Stand On 
Zanzibar. Pub. ed. 
$5.95 

6130. A Time ot 
Changes by Robert 
Silverberg. Brilliant 
novelofstrange planet 
where human beings 
must despise 
themselves. 1971 
Nebula award winner. 
Spec. Ed. 



with trial mernbership 

6023. The Gods 
Themselves by Isaac 
Asimov. The master's 
first novel in IS years 
...and worth the wait 
for a fabulous trip to 
the year 3000. Pub. 
ed.$5.95 

1347. When Harlie 
Was One by David 
Gerrold. The costliest, 
most complex com- 
puter -as creative as 
the human brain — 
begins to suffer from 
human weakness. 
Spec. Ed. 

8037. Again, Danger* 
ous Visions, Harlan 
Ellison, ed. Forty-six 
pieces, short stories 
& novels Explicit 
scenes and language 
may be offensive fo 
some. Pub. ed. SI2.95 

6254. Midsummer 
Century by James 
Blish. The terrors of 
the 2501h century... 
confronted by 20tl) 
century man. Pub. 
ed.$4 95 


SCIENCE FICTION BOOK CLUB 34-S123 
Dept- eL-620. Garden City.N.Y. 11530 
Please accept my application for membership in the Science 
Fiction Book Club and send me the 3 books whose numbers I 
have written in the boxes below. Bill me just 104 (to help 
cover shipping) for all 3. About every 4 weeks, send me the 
club's bulletin. "Things to Come." describing the 2 coming 
Selections and a variety of Alternate choices. It I wish to 
receive both Selections. I need do nothing: they wtti be shipped 
to me automatically. Whenever 1 don’t want 1 of the 2 Selec- 
tions or prefer an Alternate, or no book at all, I will notify 
you by the date specified by returning the convenient form 
always provided. 

t need take only 4 Selections or Alternates during the 
coming year, and may resign any time thereafter. Most boohs 
are only $1.49, plus a modest charge lor shipping and han- 
dling. Occasionally, extra-value Selections are slightly higher. 

NO-RISK GUARANTEE: If not delighted. I may return the 
entire introductory package within 10 days. Membership will 
be cancelled. I owe nothing. 


Mr. 

Mrs.- 

MiSS 


f iMse Print 


City_ 

State- 


.2ip- 


I 

I 

I 

I 

I 

I 

I 

I 

I 

'! 

I 

I 

I 

I 

J 


Book Club editions are sometimes reduced in sire, but they are all full-length, hard-cover books you will be proud to add tp your permanent library. 
Members accepted in U S A. and Canada only. Canadian members will be serviced from Toronto Offer slightly different in Canada. 




Including Venture Science Fiction 

OCTOBER •23rd ANNIVERSARY ISSUE 


NOVELETS 


The Animal Fair 

ALFRED BESTER 

5 

And The Voice of the Turtle 

STERLING E. LANIER 

56 

Thrumthing and Out 

ZENNA HENDERSON 

131 

SHORT STORIES 

Skinburn 

PHILIP JOSE FARMER 

42 

The Hoop 

HOWARD FAST 

84 

The Lotus Eaters 

FRITZ LEIBER 

96 

■ Strangers 

HARRY HARRISON 

105 

FEATURES 

Books 

RON GOULART 

38 

• Films 

BAIRD SEARLES 

100 

Cartoon 

GAHAN WILSON 

104 

Science: The Unlikely Twins 

ISAAC ASIMOV 

120 


Cover by David Hardy (see page 130) 


Edward L. Ferman,. EDITOR & PUBLISHER Isaac Asimov, SCIENCE EDITOR 
Andrew Porter, ASSISTANT EDITOR Dale Beardale, CIRCULATION MANAGER 
Joseph W. Ferman, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD 

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOG CARD NO: 51-25682 


The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Volume 43, No. 4, Whole No. 257, Oct. 
1972. Published monthly by Mercury Press, Inc. at 75j6 per copy. Annual subscription 
$8.50; $9.00 in Canada and Mexico, $9.50 in other foreign countries. Postmaster: send 
form 3579 to Fantasy and Science Fiction, Box 56, Cornwall, Conn. 06753. Publication 
office, Box 56, Cornwall, Conn. 06753. Editorial submissions should be sent to 347 East 
53rd St., New York, N.Y. 10022. Second class postage paid at Cornwall, Conn. 06753 
and at additional mailing offices. Printed in U.S.A. Copyright© 1972 by Mercury Press, 
Inc. All rights, including translations into other languages, reserved. Submissions must be 
accompanied by stamped, self-addressed envelopes. The publisher assumes no 
responsibility for return of unsolicited manuscripts. 


About nine years ago, Alfred Bester stopped writing 
fantasy and sf to become an editor at Holiday Magazine. 
He didn't cut down; he just stopped. Thus we 
were both surprised and delighted to get a recent 
letter from Mr. Bester that began: “Holiday has 
moved to Indianapolis, and after one look at that 
mighty metrop. I politely refused to go along as Senior 
Editor. So I've gone back to honest fiction 
writing. . Indianapolis, we love you. 


The Animal Fair 

by .ALFRED BESTER 


I went to the animal fair. 

The birds and the beasts were there. 
By the light of the moon. 

The big baboon, 

Wes combing his golden hair. 

The monkey he got drunk. 

And climbed up the elephant’s trunk. 
The elephant sneezed 
And fell on his knees. 

But what became of the monk ? 

Traditional nursery song 


There is a high hill in 
Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 
that is called Red Hill because it 
is formed of red shale. There is 
an abandoned' farm on top of 
the hill which is called Red Hill 
ftirm. It was deserted many 
years ago when the children of 
ftirmers decided that there was 
more excitement and entertain- 
ment in the cities. 


Red Hill farm has an old 
stone house with thick walls, 
oaken floors and the enormous 
fireplaces in which the cooking 
was done two hundred years 
ago. There is a slate-roofed 
smokehouse behind it in which 
hams should be hung. There is a 
small red barn cluttered with 
forgotten things like bhildren’s 
sleighs and pieces of horses’ 


5 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


6 

harness, and there is a big red 
barn which is the Big Red 
Schoolhouse. 

Here the ladies and gentle- 
men who possess the farm in 
fact, if not in fee simple 
absolute, hold meetings by day 
and night to discuss problems 
of portent and to educate their 
children. But you must under- 
stand that they speak the 
language of creatures which few 
humans can hear or understand. 
Most of us learned it when we 
were young but lost it as it was 
replaced by human speech. A 
rare few can still speak both, 
and this is our story. 

The meetings in the Big Red 
Schoolhouse are governed by 
the Chairman, a ring-necked 
cock pheasant who is all pomp 
and strut. He is secretly referred 
to as “The Sex Maniac” because 
he maintains a harem of five 
hens. The Professor is a white 
tat who escaped from the 
Rutgers University laboratories 
after three years of intensive 
education. He believes that he is 
qualified for a Ph.D. and is 
considering doing his disserta- 
tion “On The Relevance of Hot 
Water to Science.” 

George Washington Wood- 
chuck is the peerless surveyor 
of Red Hill farm. He knows 
every inch of its forty acres and 
is the arbiter of all territorial 
disputes. The Senior Rabbit, 
who is occasionally called “The 
Scoutmaster,” is the mentor of 


morality and much alarmed by 
the freedom and excesses of the 
Red Hill young. “I will not,” he 
says, “permit Red Hill to 
become another Woodstock.” 
He also deplores modern music. 

There are many other 
members of the Big Red 
Schoolhouse— deer, who have 
darling manners but are really 
awfully dumb. The intellectuals 
call them “The Debutantes.” 
Moses Mole, who is virtually 
blind, as all moles are, is 
pestering the Professor to teach 
him astronomy. “But how can I 
teach you astronomy when you 
can’t even see the stars?” “I 
don’t want to be an observing 
astronomer. I want to be a 
mathematical astronomer like 
Einstein.” It looks as though 
the Professor will have to 
introduce a course in the New 
Math. 

There are a Cardinal and a 
Brown Thrasher who have mean 
tempers and are always picking 
fights. The Cardinal is called 
“His Eminence,” of course, and 
the Brown Thrasher is nick- 
named “Jack Johnson.” It’s 
true that Jack Johnson has a 
rotten disposition, but he sings 
beautifully and conducts reg- 
ular vocal classes. On the other 
hand the voice of His Eminence 
can only be called painful. 

The Chaldean Chicken is a 
runaway from a hatchery down 
the road, and she’s a real 
mixed-up girl. She’s a White 


THE ANIMAL FAIR 


7 


Leghorn and had the niisfor- 
tune at an early age to discover 
that Leghorn is a place in Italy. 
Consequently she speaks a 
gibberish which she believes is 
fluent Italian. “Ah, caro mio, 
come est? Benny, I hope. 
Grazie. And with meeyo is 
benny too.” She’s called the 
Chaldean because she’s spaced 
out on astrology, which in- 
furiates the Professor. “Ah, 
you will never be sympathetica 
with him. You are Gasitorius 
and he is Zapricorn.” 

The cleverest members of 
the Big Red Schoolhouse are 
the crows, who are witty and 
talkative and sound like an 
opening night party at a 
theatrical restaurant. Unfor- 
tunately they are not respected 
by the Establishment, which 
regards them as “mere mum- 
mers” who are likely to try to 
borrow something (never re- 
turned) and who turn serious 
discussions into a minstrel 
show. It must be admitted that 
when two crows get together 
they begin to behave like end 
men in search of an inter- 
locutor, convulsing themselves 
with ancient gags. 

“Which do you like, the old 
writers or the new writers?” 

“My brother’s got that.” 

“Got what?” 

“Neuritis.” 

Caw! Caw! Caw! 

“How many children do you 
have?” 


“I have five, thank you.” 

“Don’t thank me, friend. 
Don’t thank me.” 

Caw! Caw! Caw! 

It was on an evening in May 
when the light is long and the 
shadows even longer that the 
Chairman entered the Big Red 
Schoolhouse attended by his 
harem. Everyone was there and 
deeply involved in a discussion 
of a proposal by the Professor. 

It was that they should | 

establish an Underground Rail- j 

road, something like the Aboli- 
tionists, to enable other es- 
capees to reach freedom. Moe 
Mole, who is rather literal- i 

minded, was pointing out that 
it would be extremely difficult 
for him to dig tunnels big | 

enough to accommodate rail- 
road cars. “I saw one once. 
They’re as big as houses.” Jack 
Johnson was needling His 
Eminence to give flying lessons 
to all refugees, regardless of 
race, creed or species. Two 
black crows were cawing it up. 

In short, it was a typical Red 
Barn gathering. 

“I call this meeting to order 
with important news,” the 
Chairman said. “I say, Kaff 
Kaff, with vital intelligence. 
Flora, do sit down. Oh, sorry. 
Frances, do sit— Felicia? Oh, 
Phyllis. Yes. Quite. Kaff Kaff. 

Do sit down, Phyllis. This 
morning a Cadillac drove up the 
lane leading to Red Hill farm—” 


8 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


“Two hundred and thirty- 
five-point-nine yards,” Geo. W. 
Woodchuck said, “bearing, east- 
southeast. Latitude—” 

“Yes, yes, my dear George. 
It was followed by a Volvo 
containing—” 

“Which do you like, a 
Cadillac or a Volvo?” 

“My father’s got that." 

“Got what?” 

“A Cadillac condition.” 

Caw! Caw! Caw! 

“Gentlemen! Gentlemen! 
Please! This is serious. The 
Cadillac contained a real estate 
agent. The foreign vehicle 
contained a man, a woman and 
an extremely small child, sex as 
yet undetermined. It is my 
judgment, Kaff Kaff, I say, my 
measured opinion that our farm 
is being shown for sale.” 

“May is a bad month for 
buying,” the Chaldean Chicken 
declared. “Importanto decisions 
should be reservato for the Sign 
of Jemimah.” 

“The word is Gemini,” the 
Professor shouted. “The least 
you can do is get your 
superstitions straight.” 

“You are a male chauvinist 
rat,” Miss Leghorn retorted, 
“And I am going to form a 
Chickens’ Lib.” 

“Yes, yes, my dear. And I 
will be the first to contribute to 
your worthy cause. Never mind 
that look, Frances— Oh, Fifi? 
There is no need for a 
Pheasants’ Lib movement. You 


are already liberated. Kaff Kaff. 
Now, ladies and gentlemen, we 
are involved in, I say, we are 
committed to a struggle for the 
preservation of our property. 
We must not permit any 
strangers (I might almost call 
them squatters) to invade us. 
We must make the land as 
unattractive as possible, and 
this will demand sacrifices.” 

“Name one that you’ll 
make,” the Professor said. 

“1 will name several. 
Ladies,” here the Chairman 
addressed himself to the does. 
“Please do not permit your- 
selves to be seen. The human 
animal is always enchanted by 
your beauty and glamor.” 

The Debutantes giggled pret- 
tily. 

“My dear Scoutmaster,” the 
Chairman went on to the Senior 
Rabbit, “the same holds true 
for yourself and your entire 
troop. Please disappear until 
further notice. No more jam- 
borees on the lawns. I, of 
course, will make a similar 
sacrifice. I shall conceal my 
blazing magnificence. Kaff 
Kaff.” 

Moe Mole said, “I’m always 
concealed.” 

“To be sure. To be sure. But 
Moses, would it be possible for 
you to tunnel all the grounds, 
raising those unsightly mounds? 
You will have to double yoilr 
efforts, but it would be most 
helpful.” 


THE ANIMAL FAIR 

“ril get the brothers from 
Moles Anonymous to lend a 
hand.” 

-Splendid. Splendid. Now, 
George W.; I ask this as a special 
favor. Would you be kind 
enough to give up your 
invaluable surveying for the 
nonce, I say, Kaff Kaff, 
temporarily, and eat the daf- 
fodUs?” 

“I hate the taste.” 

“I don’t blame hirri,” the 
Senior Rabbit said. “They’re 
disgusting.” 

“But so appealing visually to 
the human eye. You don’t have 
to actually devour them, 
George; just cut them down and 
chew a little. I will do the same 
for the lilacs, under cover of 
darkness, of course, and my 
dear ladies will assist.” 

Jack Johnson said, “What 
about me and his immanence?” 

“His Eminence will remain 
out of sight but will sing. You 
will remain in sight but will not 
sing.” 

“I’m as pretty as that 
Jesuit.” 

“Yeah? You want to prove 
it? Step outside.” 

“Gentlemen. Gentlemen. 
Please! We are concerting an 
all-out attack. Now our mem- 
bers of Actors Equity will 
continue their customary depre- 
dations, concentrating on the 
apple, pear and peach trees.” 

“We ought to eat the corn, 
too.” 


9 

“I’m hot going to eat you, 
friend.” ' ' ' 

Caw! Caw! CaW! 

“Miss Leghorn Will remain 
out of sight.' There is nothing 
more appealing to the human " 
animal than a chickfen med- 
itating on a summer day. Oh, 
and Jack, dear boy, will you try 
to dispossess the Mockingbird? 
There is nothing more appealing 
than a mockingbird serenading 
on a summer night.” 

“Why don’t he ever join 
up?’' • 

“I have solicited him many 
times, and he has always 
refused. I’m afraid he’ll refuse 
to be drafted now.” 

“I’ll chase him all the way tb 
Canada.” 

“I shall continue to supervise 
the campaign from my com- ' 
mand post in Freda’s— ah, 
Francie’s— ah, from my com- 
mand post under the lilac bush. 

I assure you, ladies and 
gentlemen, we cannot fail. 
Meeting adjourned.” 

They failed, of. course. Those ■ 
losers from the Big City took 
two looks at Red Hill farm and 
fell in love with it. They saw 
the miniature hogbacks that 
Moe Mole had dug and loved 
them. “Moles have their rights,” 
the husband said. They Saw 
George W. decimating the 
daffodils. “Woodchucks have ’ 
their rights,” the wife said. 
“Next year we’ll plant enough 


10 

for us and him.” The Kaff Kaff 
of the Chairman doing his best 
to destroy the lilacs put them in 
ecstasies. Flashing glimpses of 
the does and their fawns hiding 
in the woods enchanted them. 
“Do you think they’ll all let us 
live here with them?” the wife 
asked. 

They bought the farm at a 
high price ($1,000 an acre) with 
the help of a mortgage, moved 
in all their possessions and took 
up residence. Almost im- 
mediately there were hammer- 
ings and sawings inside the 
house and flutters of wash 
outside, hung on a line strung 
between a couple of oak trees. 

They were a family of four. 
The head of the house was a 
Burmese cat, all tan and brown 
with golden eyes, who ruled 
with an imperious hand. Then 
there came the husband and 
wife, and a small boy aged two 
years who ruled the Burmese. 
The news of the cat rather 
disturbed the Big Red School- 
house, which is not fond of 
predators. They are all vegetar- 
ians, and the Chaldean Chicken 
has formed an association called 
OFFO, which stands for Or- 
ganic Foods For Oil. In the 
opinion of the Professor, Miss 
Leghorn is ineducable. 

“No, it’s nothing to worry 
about,” George W. assured the 
assembled. “She’s a right 
royalty.” 

“Royalty?” 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

“I had a long talk with her 
through the screen door. She’s 
some kind of Burmese Princess, 
and if the Burmese were ever 
hunters, it’s been bred out of 
her.” 

“She says. Behind a door.” 

“No. I helped her get it 
open, and we had a real friendly 
time until the lady ran out and 
grabbed her and put her back in 
the house. She was mad.” 

“Why?” 

“Well, it seems that these 
Burmese types are very high- 
class, and they don’t let them 
out. They’re jdraid she’ll catch 
hemophilia or something. The 
Princess is kind of lonely. We 
ought to do sorhething for her.” 

“Hemophilia is not con- 
tagious,” the Professor said. “It 
is a congenital characteristic 
transmitted through the female 
chromosome.” 

“So, all right. Leukemia or 
something.” 

“What about the family?” 

“The Princess says they’re a 
little loose. The name is 
Dupree. He’s Constantine and 
she’s Constance, so they call 
each other Connie and the 
Princess never knows where 
she’s at.” 

“And the kid?” 

“He’s a boy and he’s got six 
names.” 

“Six?” 

“They call him after some 
kind of poem, which I think is a 
pretty rotten scene: James 


THE ANIMAL FAIR 

James Morrison Morrison 
Weatherby George.” 

“That’s four names,” the 
Professor objected. 

“But mathematically speak- 
ing,” Moe Mole began, “it really 
counts up to—” 

“All right. All right. Six. 
How old is he?” 

“Two.” 

“What does he do?” 

“Not much. Just crawls 
around.” 

“At two? Arrested. What 
does the father do?” 

“He’s an editor.” 

“What’s that?” 

“You know those pieces of 
paper we see sometimes with 
print on them like Tomato 
Ketchup, Net Wt. 32 Oz.; or 
Pall Mall Famous Cigarettes— 
Wherever Particular People Con- 
gregate?” 

“Whatever they mean. 
And?” 

“The Princess says some- 
body has to be in charge of the 
print. That’s an editor.” 

“What does she do?” 

“Who?” 

“The other Connie.” 

“She pastes food on paper.” 

“She what?” 

“That’s what the Princess 
said.” 

“Pastes food on paper?” 

“The Princess says it tastes 
real good.” 

“She is not pasting food on 
paper,” the Professor said. “She 
is making paintings.” He turned 


11 

to Geo. Woodchuck. “In my 
opinion your friend, the Bur- 
mese Princess, is an ass.” 

“She wants to meet you. Her 
Connie, the man, went to 
Rutgers, too” 

“Did he, now? Was he Phi 
Beta Kappa? No matter. Per- 
haps we can arrange some- 
thing.” 

“He doesn’t speak our 
language.” 

“Too bad. Can he learn? 
How old is he?” 

“Around thirty.” 

The Professor shook his 
head. “A senior citizen. Too 
late.” 

At this point one of the 
Endmen said, “A funny thing is 
happening on its way to the 
barn.” 

They all stared at him. 

“Something’s coming,” he 
explained. 

They looked through the slit 
in the bam door. A curious 
creature, pink and naked, was 
crawling across the lawn in their 
direction. 

“Where? Where?” Moe Mole 
asked. 

“Bearing south-southwest,” 
George W. told him. 

“What is it?” 

“It’s a Monster!” Miss 
Leghorn cried. 

The Monster crawled 
through the slit, stopped, rested 
and panted. Then he looked at 
the assembly. The assembly 
examined him. 


12 


FAN TAhV AN!) SCIFNCE FICTION 


“It’s James James Aiurrison 
Morrison Weatherby tU'orge,” 
the Woodchuck said. “1 saw 
him hugging the Princes.s.” 

“Da,” the Monstc-r said 
pleasantly. 

“An obvious illiterate,” the 
Professor said peevishly. “It 
can’t speak. Let’s adjourn.” 

“I can too speak,” James 
said in the creature tongue. 
“Why are you so mean to me?” 

“My dear Monster,” the 
Professor apologized handsome- 
ly, “I had no idea. I beg you to 
forgive me.” 

“Da,” James said. 

“But of course,” the White 
Rat explained. “Science always 
finds the answer. He can speak 
to us, but he can’t speak to his 
own kind.” 

“Da,” James said. 

“You’ve got to speak our 
language, buddy boy,” Jack 
Johnson said. 

“We think he’s cute in any 
language,” the Debutantes tit- 
tered. 

“Ladies,” the Monster said. 
“I thank you .for the generous 
compliment. I am but a simple 
soul, but I am not impervious 
to flattery from such glorious 
females as you. In this 
hurly-burly world of conflict 
and confrontation it is a 
comfort for a lonely creature 
like myself to know that there 
are yet a few who are capable 
of relating and communi- 
cating.” 


“ilis primiiiv(! eloquence 
goes to tiu‘ iK'tu't," said a fawn, 
bailing her eyes at James. 

“Where the hell did you get 
that fancy spiel?” one of the 
End men demanded. 

“i rom my father's editor- 
ials,” James grinned. “He reads 
them out loud to my mother.” 

“Honest and modest,” the 
Scoutmaster said. “I approve of 
that.” 

“Hey, Monster, what’s it like 
living with human types? Is it 
different?” 

“I don’t know, sir. I’ve never 
lived with anything else.” 

“What about that Princess? 
The Burmese type.” 

“Oh, she’s just a flirt. She’s 
viscerotonic; that is, she oper- 
ates from instinctive rather than 
intellectual motivation.” 

“Jeez!” Jack Johnson ex- 
claimed. 

“One of them editorials?” an 
Endmen asked. 

“Yes, sir. What I mean, 
ladies and gentlemen, is that 
this is the first chance I’ve ever 
had to carry on a rational 
conversation with anyone.” 

“Don’t your parents talk to 
you?” 

“Oh, yes, but when I answer 
they don’t listen.” 

“That’s because you talk Us 
and they talk Them.” 

“You know,” the Professor 
said, “I believe this simplistic 
Monster may have some poten- 
tial. I think I’ll take him on as 


THE ANIMAL FAIR 

one of my students in Arts & 
Sciences I.” 

“Here comes one of the two 
Connies,’’ His Eminence warn- 
ed. 

“Right. Out, Monster. We’ll 
see you tomorrow. Push him 
through the door, somebody.” 

James’ mother picked him 
up and started back to the 
house. “Darling, you had a 
wonderful exploration. How 
nice that we don’t have to 
worry about cars. Did you 
discover anything?” 

“As a matter of fact I did,” 
James answered. “There’s a 
brilliant sodality of birds and 
beasts in the Big Red Barn who 
made me welcome and have 
very kindly volunteered to 
begin my education. They’re all 
characters and most amusing. 
They call me Monster.” 

Alas, he was speaking crea- 
ture language which his mother 
couldn’t hear or understand. So 
he settled for “Da” in human, 
but he was extremely annoyed 
by his mother’s failure to hear 
him, and this is the terrible 
conflict of our true story. 

And so the education of 
James Dupree began in and 
around the Big Red School- 
house. 

“Music achieved its peak in 
the Baroque Era,” Jack John- 
son said. “Telemann, Bach, 
Mozart. The greatest, the guy I 
dig the most, was Vivaldi. He 


13 

had muscle. You understand? 
Right. Now what you have to 
keep in mind is that these cats 
made statements. And you have 
to realize that .you just don’t 
listen to musi*'; you have to 
make it, which means that you 
have to conduct a conversation 
with the artists. Right? You 
hear their statement and then 
you answer them back. You 
agree with them or you argue 
with them. That’s what it’s all 
about.” 

“Thank you, sir.” 

“That’s all right. Now let’s 
hear you sound your A.” 

“As we dig deeper and 
deeper,” Moe Mole said, “we 
find that, mathematically 
speaking, the temperature in- 
creases one degree Fahrenheit 
per foot. But the brothers from 
the north tell me that they 
strike a permafrost layer which 
is left over from the Glacial 
Epoch. This is very interesting. 
It means that the last glaciation 
is not yet finished in the 
mathematical sense. Have you 
ever seen an iceberg?” 

“No, sir.” 

“I would like to dig down to 
the bottom of an iceberg to 
check the temperature.” 

“But wouldn’t it be cold, 
sir?” 

“Cold? Cold? Pah! Cold is 
better than pep pills.” 

“Thank you, sir.” 


14 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


“Let me see your hand,” 
Miss Leghorn said. "'Benny. 
Bet^ny. The line of life is strong. 
Ah,' but the line of Venus, of 
amourismo, is broken in multo 
places. I’m afraid you will have 
an unhappy love life, caro 
mio. ” 

“Repeat after me,” the 
Senior Rabbit said. “On my 
honor.” 

“On my honor.” 

“I will do my best to do my 
duty.” 

“I will do my best to do my 
duty.” 

“For God and my country.” 

“For God and my country.” 

“And to obey the scout 
law.” 

“And to obey the scout 
law.” 

“I will help other people at 
all times.” 

“I will help other people at 
all times.” 

“And keep myself physically 
strong.” 

“And keep myself physically 
strong. ” 

“Mentally awake.” 

“Mentally awake.” 

“And morally straight.” 

“And morally straight.” 

“Good. You are now an 
official Tenderfoot. We’ll start 
knot tying tomorrow.” 

“Excuse me, sir. What does 
morally straight mean?” 

“Now watch me,” the 


Debutante said. “First you take 
a step/And then you take 
another/ And then you take a 
step/And then you take an- 
other/ And then, you’re doing 
the Gazpacho. Now you try it.” 

“But I can’t even walk, 
Ma’am.” 

“That’s right,” the Debu- 
tante said brightly. “So how 
can you dance? Shall we sit this 
one out? Tell me, have you read 
any good books lately?” 

“My professor at Rutgers,” 
the White Rat said, “taught me 
everything I know. He was a Phi 
Beta Kappa. He said that we are 
always faced with problems in 
the humanities and scientific 
disciplines and that the most 
important step is to first decide 
whether it’s a problem of 
complexity or perplexity. Now, 
do you know the difference?” 

“No, sir. I’m afraid I don’t.” 

“Hmp! Arrested!” 

“Sir, what is the differ- 
ence?” 

“George Woodchuck wants 
to tell you about surveying.” 

“I can’t understand why the 
Professor said that,” Geo. W. 
said. “Surveying can be an 
awfully dull line of work. I 
wouldn’t want to wish it on my 
worst enemy.” 

“Then why do you do it, 
sir?” 

“I don’t know. Maybe, I 
suppose, because I’m the dull 


THE ANIMAL FAIR 

type that enjoys it. But you’re 
not a dull boy; you’re very 
bright.” 

“Thank you, sir. Why don’t 
you try me and see if I like it, 
too?” 

“Well, all right, provided it’s 
understood that I’m not trying 
to lay this on you.” 

“Understood, sir.” 

“Fair enough. Now, a proper 
surveying job can’t be done 
unless you’ve got a fix on 
latitude and longitude. The 
altitude of the sun gives you 
your latitude, and time gives 
you your longitude. Got that?” 

“But I can’t tell time,” 

“Of course you can, my boy. 
You have your biological 
clock.” 

“I don’t know what that is, 
sir.” 

“We all have it. Quick, now. 
What time is it?” 

“Just before supper.” 

“No! No! How long since 
the sun culminated, that is, 
reached its highest ^titude in 
the sky at noon? Quick, now! 
In hours, minutes and seconds. 
Off the top of your head.” 

“Six hours, seventeen 
minutes and five seconds.” 

“It should be three seconds. 
You’d be out by eight hundred 
yards,” The Peerless Surveyor 
patted James generously. 
“You’re a brilliant boy and you 
have your biological clock. 
Tomorrow we will beat the 
bounds of the farm.” 


15 

“Ladies, I say, Kaff Kaff, 
women are changeable. Never 
forget that. We cem’t live with 
them and we can’t live without 
them. As the great poet wrote: 
Whenas in silks my pheasant 
goes, then, then, methinks, how 
sweetly flows the liquefaction 
of her clothes. You are, I am 
afraid, a little too young for the 
second stanza, which is, to say 
the least, a trifle bawdy.” 

“Yes, sir.” 

‘JNow we come to the 
matter of the moment,” the 
Chairman said. “I hope you’re 
not colorblind.” 

“I don’t know, sir.” 

“Color perception is es- 
sential for survival. Very well, 
we’ll test you. What is the color 
of that flower?” 

“It’s the color of an iris.” 

“I know that, but what 
color? The name? The name?” 

“Blue?” James said at a 
venture. 

“It is marine purple navy. 
And that tulip?” 

“Red?” 

“It is cerise. Really, my 
young friend! Survival! Sur- 
vival! And the lilacs?” 

“Lilac, sir.” 

“Ah! Now you’re exhibiting 
some perception. Very good. 
Tomorrow we will study 
ROYGBIV.” 

“I don’t know what that is, 
sir.” 

“They are the initial letters 
of the colors of the spectrum,*” 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


16 

the Chairman said severely, and 
stalked off in a marked manner. 

“Hey, kid.” 

“Yes, your Eminence?” 

“Which one is your father?” 

“The tall one, sir.” 

“What does he do?” 

“Well, he talks a lot, your 
Eminence, and I listen a lot.” 

“What’s he talk about?” 

“Practically everything. 
Science and the state of the 
nation. Society. Ecology. 
Books. Ideas. The theater.” 

“What’s that?” 

“I don’t know, sir. He also 
does a lot of cooking when he’s 
home, mostly in a foreign 
language.” 

“He does, huh? Say, kid, any 
chance of him putting out some 
suet for me? I’m queer for 
suet.” 

All was not perpetual sweet- 
ness and light in the Big Red 
Schoolhouse; there were Un- 
pleasant moments occasionally. 

There was the time that 
James crawled in cranky. He’d 
had a bad night owing to a 
surfeit of chocolate pudding w. 
whipped cream at supper, and 
he was tired and sullen. He 
rejected the gracious advances 
of the Debutantes. He made 
faces while the Professor was 
lecturing. He was quite impos- 
sible. He spoke just one word. 
It wasn’t creature, it was 
human, and it wasn’t “Da,” it 


was “Damn!” Then he began to 
sob. The creatures, who never 
cry, gazed at him perplexedly, 

“What’s he doing?” 

“He’s crying,” the voice of 
the Burmese Princess explained. 
She entered the barn. “I hope 
you’ll forgive the intrusion, but 
I managed to get out and came 
after him. Hello, George. 
You’re looking handsome to- 
day. This must be the Professor. 
James never told me you were 
so distinguished. The Chairman 
and His Eminence are magni- 
ficent, as usual. I can’t tell you 
how many times I’ve admired 
you through the windows.” 

‘‘Kaff Kaff. I thank your 
highness.” 

“You ain’t so bad-looking 
yourself, baby.” 

“Come on, James, we’ll go 
back to the house.” 

“But is he sick?” the 
Professor asked. 

“No, just out of sorts. He 
has a temper, you know, 
inherited from his mother, who 
is rather Bohemian. Come 
along, James. Back to . the 
house.” 

The Princess began to vamp 
James, tickling him with her 
cuddly fur but moving off a few 
steps each time he tried to 
embrace her for comfort. He 
crawled after her, out of the 
Schoolhouse and through the 
grass toward the house. 

“He’ll be all right tomor- 
row,” she called. “Charming 


THE ANIMAL FAIR 


17 


place you have here. ’Bye, all.” 

“I told you she was a right 
royalty,” George W. said. 

And there was the time 
when one of the Endmen reeled 
into the Schoolhouse singing, 
“How you gonna keep ’em 
down on the farm after they 
seen Paree?” He examined the 
assembly with a bleary eye, 
rocking slightly. “You’re all 
plastered,” he informed them. 
“You’re stoned.” Then he was 
sick. 

“What’s the matter with our 
entertaining, I say, thespian 
friend?” the Chairman inquired. 

“The berries on one of the 
bushes fermented,” the other 
Endman explained, “and I 
couldn’t stop him from eating 
them. He’s blind drunk.” 

“Actors!” the Senior Rabbit 
burst out. “Let this be a lesson 
to you, James. Well, just don’t 
stand there. Somebody get him 
out of here and walk him 
around.” 

“Sir?” 

“Yes?” 

“The hose is spraying the 
rose bushes. If we put him 
under the cold spray. . .?” 

“That is keeping yourself 
mentally awake. By all means 
put this clown under the hose. I 
only hope he sits on a thorn.” 

“Connie,” Constance said to 
Constantine, “I’m worried 
about Jamie.” 


“Why?” 

“Shouldn’t he be going to 
preschool?” 

“Why?” 

“He seems to be arrested.” 

“He isn’t three yet. What do 
you want, Connie, some sort of 
prodigy entering Harvard aged 
ten and blighted for life? I want 
James to grow up a healthy 
normal boy without having his 
mind forced prematurely.” 

“If you will permit me. 
Professor,” James said, “I 
would like to disagree with my 
learned colleague, Moe Mole, on 
the Big Bang Theory of 
cosmology.” 

“Cosmogony,” the White 
Rat corrected shortly. 

“Thank you, sir. The idea of 
a giant proto-atom exploding to 
produce the expanding universe 
as we know it today is most 
attractive, but in my opinion it 
is pure romance. I believe in the 
Steady State Theory— that our 
universe is constantly renewing 
itself with the birth of new stars 
and galaxies from the primor- 
dial hydrogen.” 

“But what is your proof?” 
Moses Mole asked. 

“The eternal equation,” 
James answered. “Energy is 
equal to mass multiplied by the 
speed of light raised to the 
second power.” 

A voice called in human, 
“James? Jamie? Where are 
you?” 


18 

“Excuse me, Professor,” 
James said politely. “I’m 
wanted.” 

He crawled to the crack in 
the barn door and squirmed 
through with difficulty. “Da!” 
he cried in human. 

“We’ll have to open that 
door more,” the Professor said 
irritably. “He’s grown. Why in 
the world hasn’t he learned how 
to walk? He’s old enough. When 
1 was his age, I had grand- 
children.” 

The rabbits and fawns 
tittered. 

“Class dismissed,” the Pro- 
fessor said. He glared at Moses 
Mole. “You and your Big Bang 
Theory! Why can’t you help me 
get microscopes for my biology 
seminar?” 

“I haven’t come across any 
underground,” Moe said reason- 
ably. “As a matter of fact, I 
wouldn’t know one if I saw it. 
Could you describe a micro- 
scope mathematically?” 

“E=Mc^ ,” the Professor 
snapped and marched off. He 
was in a terrible state of mind, 
and his classes were fortunate 
that they weren’t taking ex- 
aminations just now. He would 
have flunked every one of his 
students. 

The Professor was deeply 
concerned about James James 
Morrison Morrison, who was 
past two years old and should 
be walking and talking human 
by now. He felt a sense of 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

impending guilt and went to the 
duck pond for a searching 
self-examination . 

“Now I am alone,” the 
White Rat said. The mallard 
ducks paddled up to have a 
look at him, but he ignored 
them. Everybody knows that 
ducks are incapable of appre- 
ciating a solemn soliloquy. 

“The quality of wisdom is 
not strained. It droppeth as the 
gentle rain from heaven; so who 
are we mere fardels to do battle 
with the angels? All I ask, 
James, is that ye remember me. 
This day is called Father’s Day. 
He who shall outlive this day 
will stand a tiptoe when this 
day is named and yearly feast 
his neighbors. Old men forget, 
but is it not better to bear the 
slings and arrows of outrageous 
fortune?” 

Then he began something 
between a growl and a song: 

On the banks of the Old Raritan, 
my boys, 

Where Old Rutgers evermore shall 
stand, 

For has she not stood since the 
time of the flood 

On the banks of the Old Raritan. 

Feeling much better, the 
Professor returned to the Big 
Red Schoolhouse to prepare his 
first lecture on the New Math. 
“Zero,” he said to himself. 
“One. Ten. Eleven. One hun- 
dred. One hundred and one. . .” 
He was counting in binary 
arithmetic. 


THE ANIMAL ^AIR 

fMe^nwhile, James, ^ Ja^es 
Morrison Morrison had finished 
his lunch (chicken salad, 1 slice 
bread w. butter, applesauce and 
milk) and was upstairs in his cot 
theoretically having a nap, 
actually in drowsy, conversation 
with the Princess, who had 
made herself comfortable on hip 
chest. 

“I do love you,” James said, 
“but you take me for granted, 
All you women are alike,” 

“That’s because you love 
everything, James.” 

“Shouldn’t everybody?” 

“Certainly not. Everybody 
should love me, of course, but 
not everything. It reduces my 
rank.” 

“Princess, are you really a 
Burmese Princess?” 

*T thought you said you 
loved me.” 

“But I happen to know you 
were born in Brooklyn,” 

“Politics, James. Politics. 
Daddy, who was also an 
admiral, was forced to flee 
Burma at a moment’s notice. 
He barely had time to throw a 
few rubies into a flight bag and 
then came to Brooklyn.” 

“Why Brooklyn?” 

“The plane was hijacked.” 

“What’s a ruby?” 

“Ask your Professor,” the 
Princess snapped. 

“Ah-ha! Jealous. Jealous. I 
knew I’d get you,” 

“Now who’s taking who for 
granted?” 


19 

“Me. Shift up to my heck. 
Princess..! can’i^ breathe.” 

“You are a male chauvinist 
pig,” the Princess said as she 
obliged. “I’m merely your sex 
symbol.” 

“Say, why don’t you, join 
Miss Leghorn’s Chickens’ Lib 
movement?” 

“Me, sir? What have I to do 
with chickens?” 

“I notice you did all right 
with my chicken salad. Don’t 
pretend you don’t don’t know 
what: I’m talking about. I saw 
you up on the table when 
mamma was loading the dish- 
washer. 1; thought the mayoni- 
naise was awful.” i 

“Commercial.” i 

“Can’t you teach mamma 
how to make homemade 
mayo?” ; ' 

“Me, sir? What have I to do 
with kitchens? I leave that to 
the help,” 

“Ah-ha! Gotcha again.” 

“I hate you,” the Princess 
said. “I loathe and execrate 
you.” 

“You love me,” James James 
said comfortably. “You love me 
and you’re stuck with me. I’ve 
got you in my power,” 

“Are there any cats in the 
Red Barn?” 

“No,” James laughed. 
“You’re the one and only 
Princess on Red Hill.” 

There was an outlandish 
noise outside, a snarling and 
screaming in creature voices. ‘ 


20 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


“What’s that?” James ex- 
claimed. 

The Princess got to the 
window in a scamper and 
returned. “Just a couple of 
farm dogs playing with George 
Woodchuck,” she reported lazi- 
ly. “Now, as we were saying 
about me—” 

“Playing? That doesn’t 
sound like playing to me. I’d 
better see for myself.” 

“James, you know you can’t 
walk.” 

“I’m damn well going to 
walk now.” 

James James hove himself 
over the edge of the cot and fell 
to the floor. He gripped the 
edge of the bed and pulled 
himself upright. Then he 
tottered to the window. 

“They aren’t playing with 
George. He’s in bad trouble.” 

James made his way out of 
the room, clutching at walls and 
door frames, managed the stairs 
by sitting down on every tread, 
butted the screen door open 
with his head, and was out on 
the soft meadow, trotting, 
tottering, falling, picking him- 
self up, and driving himself 
toward the Peerless Surveyor 
who was being torn by two 
savage mongrels. 

They snarled and snapped as 
James threw himself over 
George W. and were quite 
prepared to come in after both 
of them. James kicked and 
flailed at them. He also 


challenged and cursed them in 
the creature tongue. Using 
language so frightful that it 
cannot be reported. The display 
of courage and determination 
discouraged the mongrels, who 
at last turned and made off 
jauntily as thought it had only 
been a game all along. James 
pulled himself to his knees, 
picked up George, lurched to 
his feet and began tottering 
toward the Big Red Barn. 

“Thank you,” George said. 

“Aw, shut up,” James 
'replied. 

When they reached the 
Schoolhouse, everyone was 
there. Nothing escapes atten- 
tion on Red Hill. James James 
sat down on his fat bottom 
with the Surveyor still cradled 
in his arms. The Debutantes 
made sympathetic sounds. 

“Hunters! Hoodlums!” the 
Senior Rabbit growled. “No 
one is safe from them. It’s all 
the fault of the Bleeding Hearts. 
Understand them. Be kind to 
them. Help them. Help them do 
what? Kjll.” 

“There is a triangle of Red 
Hill farm,” Geo. W. said faintly, 
“measuring exactly one point 
six acres. It extends into the 
property next door where 
Paula, the pig, lives. Tell Paula 
she must respect our— She 
must— our boundar— ” 

“I’ll tell her,” James said, 
and began to cry. 

They took the body of the 


THE ANIMAL FAIR 

woodchuck from his arms and 
carried it to the woods where 
they left George exposed to the 
weather and nature. Creatures 
do not bury their dead. James 
was still sitting in the Big Red 
Schoolhouse, silently weeping. 

“The kid’s a right guy,” one 
of the Endmen said. 

“Yeah, he’s got moxie. You 
see the way he fight them dogs 
to a Mexican stand-off? Two to 
one against, it was.” 

“Yeah. Hey, kid. Kid. It’s all 
over now. Kid, you ever hear 
the one about the guy who goes 
into a butcher store, you should 
excuse the expression?” The 
Endman poked his partner. 

“I’d like a pound of kidleys, 
please.” 

“You mean kidneys, don’t 
you?” 

“Well, I said kidleys, diddle 
I?” 

“Oh, funny! Fun-nee! Huh, 
kid?” 

“He will have to fall into the 
pond, Kaff Kaff, I say be 
immersed,” the Chairman said. 
“He is covered with George’s 
blood, and the two Commies 
will ask questions.” 

“That’s Connies.” 

“No matter. Will our lovely 
young Debutantes be kind 
enough to convey our valiant 
friend to the pond and—” 

“I can walk now,” James 
said. 

“To be sure. To be sure. And 
push him in. Kaff Kaff. And my 


21 

apologies to the Mallards, who 
may resent the trespass. May I 
say, my dear boy, I say, may I 
state on behalf of us all that we 
welcome you as a fully 
accepted member of our com- 
mune. It is a privilege to have a 
specimen of your species, Kaff 
Kaff, Smong us. I’m sure my 
valued friend, the Professor, 
will agree.” 

“He’s my best pupil,” the 
White Rat admitted grudgingly, 
“but I’m going to have to work 
him over if he ever hopes to get 
into Rutgers.” 

“Oh, Jamie! You fell into 
the pond again.” 

“Da,” the hero said. 

That night was another bad 
night for James. He was terribly 
upset over the murder of 
George. He was in a quandary 
about the Scoutmaster’s denun- 
ciation of dogs because he was 
as fond of dogs as he was of all 
creatures. 

“There are good dogs and 
bad dogs,” he kept insisting to 
himself, “and we mustn’t judge 
the good by the bad. I think the 
Senior Rabbit was wrong, but 
how can a Scoutmaster be 
wrong? 

“It’s a question of the 
Categorical Imperative. Good 
acts lead to good results. Bad 
acts lead to bad results. yBut can 
good lead to bad or bad to 
good? My father could answer 
that question, but I’m damned 


22 

if I’ll ask him in his language. 
He won’t speak ours.” 

Here, the deep rumbling of 
the bats began to irritate him. 
Creature voices are pitched so 
much higher than human voices 
that what sounds like a bat 
squeak to the human ear sounds 
like a bass boom to the creature 
ear. This is another reason why 
most humans can’t speak 
creature. James went to the 
window. 

“All right! All right!” he 
called. “Break it up and move it 
out.” 

One of the bats fluttered to 
the window screen and hooked 
on. “What’s bugging you, old 
buddy boy?” he rumbled. 

“Keep it down to a roar, will 
you? You want to wake up the 
whole house?” 

“They can’t hear us.” 

“I can hear you.” 

“How come? Not many 
human types can.” 

“I don’t know, but I can, 
and you’re making so much 
noise I can’t sleep.” 

“Sorry, old buddy, but we 
got to.” 

“Why?” 

“Well, in the first place we’re 
night people, you know?” 

“Yes. And?” 

“In the second place we 
don’t see so good.” 

“Moe Mole doesn’t see 
•ither, but he doesn’t make a 
incket.” 

“Y^h, but Moe is working 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

underground, old buddy. He 
hasn’t got like trees and barns 
and buildings to worry about. 
You know? Now the last thing 
we want to do is crash info 
something. There ’d be a CAB 
investigation, and somebody 
would lose his license for sure.” 

“But what’s the noise got to 
do with it?” 

“That’s our sonar.” 

“What’s sonar?” 

“Radar you know about?” 
, “Yes.” 

“Sonar is radar by sound. 
You let out a yell and the 
echoes come back and you 
know where everything is.” 

“Just from the echo?” 

“Right on. You want to try 
it? Go ahead. Wait a minute; no 
cheating. Close your eyes. Now 
make with the sonar.” 

“What should I yell?” 

“Anything you feel like.” 

‘ ‘WEEHAWKEN! ” James 
shouted. The bat winced. 

“I heard three echoes,” 
James said. 

“What were they?” 

“Weehawken.” 

“That w'as the big barn.” 

“Whyhawken.” 

“The smoke house.” 

“Weehawkee.” 

“The oak tree. You’re 
getting the hang, old buddy. 
Now why don’t you practice a 
little? It won’t bother us. None 
of us use. place names except 
one cracker from the south who 
keeps hollering Carlsbad.” 


THE ANIMAL FAIR 


23 


And then James fell in love. 
It was a mad, consuming 
passion for the least likely 
candidate. Obeying George 
Woodchuck’s dying ad- 
monition, he went down to the 
traingle to request Paula, the 
pig, to respect the boundaries, 
and it was love at first sight. 
Paula was white with black 
patches or black with white 
patches (Poland China was her 
type), and she was grossly 
overweight. Nevertheless, James 
adored her. He brought her 
armfuls of apples from the 
orchard, which she ate method- 
ically and without thanks. 
Nevertheless, James loved her. 
He was the despair of the Big 
Red Schoolhouse. 

“Puppy love,” the Professor 
snorted. 

“He’s a setup for a my-wife- 
is-so-fat-that joke,” one of the 
Endmen said. 

“Marriage is out of the 
question,” the Senior Rabbit 
said. “She’s twice his age.” 

“And twice his weight.” 

Caw! Caw! Caw! 

“If he dares to bring that 
woman here,” the Debutantes 
said, “we’ll never sjjeak to him 
again.” 

James dreamed into the 
barn. “Ready for the biology 
seminar,” he said. 

“Mathematics today,” the 
Professor rapped. 

“Yes, Paula.” 

“I am the Professor.” 


“Sorry, sir.” 

“We will begin with a review 
of binary arithmetic. I trust you 
all remember that the decimal 
system uses the base of ten. We 
count from one to ten, ten to 
twenty, twenty to thirty, and 
so on. The binary system is 
based on zero and one. Zero is 
zero. One is one, but two is ten. 
Three is eleven. Four is one 
hundred. What is five, James?” 

“One hundred and Paula.” 

“Class dismissed.” 

And then James began to 
skip classes. 

“We were supposed to start a 
dig yesterday,” Moe Mole 
reported, “and he never showed 
up.” 

“He cut my oratorio ses- 
sion,” Jack Johnson said. 

“That boy is turning into a 
dropout.” 

“Have you noticed how he’s 
brushing his hair?” the Debu- 
tantes inquired. 

“Oh, come on!” His Em- 
inence said. “If the kid’s got 
hot pants, why can’t we—” 

“The boy is morally 
straight,” the Scoutmaster 
interrupted sternly. 

“It can’t be solved on 
simplistic terms,” the Professor 
said. “Emotions are involved, 
and the cerebrum is never on 
speaking terms with the cerebel- 
lum.” ' 

Alas, the situation resolved 
itself on an afternoon wIkmi 
James, carefully combed and 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


24 

brushed, brought another arm- 
ful of apples to his love. Paula 
devoured them as stolidly as 
ever while James sat and 
watched devotedly. Apparently 
Paula was extrahungry this 
afternoon because when James 
started to embrace her she 
started to eat him. James pulled 
his arm out of her mouth and 
recoiled in horror and disil- 
lusionment. 

“Paula!” he exclaimed. 
“You only love me for myself.” 

“Khonyetchna," Paula 
grunted in Cyrillic. 

James returned to the Big 
Red Schoolhouse in a gloomy 
mood. Of course everybody had 
seen the sad incident, and all of 
them did their best to be 
tactful. 

“Physiology tomorrow,” the 
Professor said. “We will discuss 
the hydrogen-ion balance in the 
blood.” 

“Yes, sir,” 

“We got to get on to the 
modem composers, kid.” 

“Yes, sir.” 

“You know, shale is an 
oil-bearing rock,” Moses Mole 
said. “But why isn’t there any 
oil in red shale? There must be 
a mathematical reason.” 

“We’ll try to find it, sir.” 

“Stick out your chest and be 
a man,” the Scoutmaster said. 

“I’m trying, sir.” 

“It is better to have loved 
and lost than never to have 
loved at all,” the Chairman said. 


Then a fawn nestled along- 
side James and whispered, “It’s 
all right. We’re sorry you picked 
the wrong girl, but it has to 
happen to every man at least 
once. That’s how you find the 
right girl.” 

James burst into tears and 
cried and cried for his lost love 
while the fawn petted him, but 
in the end he felt curiously 
relieved. 

“James,” the Professor said, 
“we must have a serious talk.” 

“Yes, sir. Here?” 

“No, Come to the willow 
grove.” They went to the 
willow grove. “Now we are 
alone,” the Professor said. 
“James, you must start speak- 
ing to your mother and father. I 
know you can. . Why don’t 
you?” 

“I’m damned if I will, sir. 
They won’t speak Us. Why 
should I speak Them?” 

“James, they don’t know 
how to speak Us. Aren’t you 
being unfair?” 

“They could try.” 

“And I’m sure they would if 
they had a clue, but they 
haven’t. Now listen to me. 
You’re our only link between 
Us and Them. We need you, 
James, as a diplomatist. Your 
mother and father are very nice 
people; no hunting or killing on 
Red Hill, and they’re planting 
many things. We dl live 
together very pleasantly. I 


THE ANIMAL FAIR 

admit your mother loses her 
temper with the Scoutmaster 
and his troop because they 
won’t get out of her way when 
she comes out to hang the 
laundry on the line, but that’s 
because she has a Bohemian 
disposition. We know what 
artists are like, unpredictable.” 

“I won’t talk to her,” James 
said. 

“Your father is an intel- 
lectual of top caliber, and he 
went to Rutgers. You’ve 
brought many of his ideas and 
speculations to the School- 
house, which are stimulating 
and appreciated. In all fairness 
you should let him know how 
grateful we are to him.” 

“He wouldn’t believe me.” 

“But at least you could 
speak to him.” 

“I won’t speak to him. He’s 
old, old, old and hidebound. 
He’s a cube. He’s trapped in a 
structured society,” 

“Where did you get that?” 

“From my father.” 

“Well, then. You see?” 

“No, I don’t,” James said 
stubbornly. “I won’t talk their 
language to them. They have to 
try Us first.” 

' “In other words, you have 
opted for Us?” 

“Yes, sir.” 

“To the exclusion of 
Them?” 

“Yes, sir.” 

“Then there’s nothing more 
to say.” 


25 

“Connie,” Constance said to 
Constantine, “we must have a 
serious talk.” 

“Now?” 

■ “Yes.” 

“What about?” 

“Jamie.” 

“What about Jamie?” 

“He’s a problem child.” 

“What’s his problem?” 

“He’s arrested.” 

“Are you starting that again? 
Now come on, Connie. He’s 
learned to walk. What more do 
you want?” 

“But he hasn’t learned to 
talk.” 

“Talk! Talk! Talk!” Con- 
stantine soimded as though he 
was cursing. “Words! Words! 
Words! I’ve lived my whole life 
with them, and I hate them. Do 
you know what most words 
are? They’re bullets people use 
to shoot each other down with. 
Words are weapons for killers. 
Language should be the beauti- 
ful poetry of communication, 
but we’ve debased it, poisoned 
it, corrupted it into hostility, 
into competition, into a contest 
between winners and losers. 
And the winner is never the 
man with something to say; the 
winner is always the fastest gun 
in the West. These are the few 
simple words I have to say 
about words.” 

“Yes, dear,” Constance said, 
“but our son shodld bo 
shooting words by now, and lie 
isn’t.” 


26 

“I hope he never does.” 

“He must, and we’ll have to 
take him to a clinic. He's 
autistic.” i 

“Autism,” the Professor 
said, ‘Us an abnormal absorp- 
tion in fantasy to the exclusion 
Of external reality. I have 
known many laboratory victims 
who have been driven to this 
deplorable state by fiendish 
experiments.” 

“Could you put that in 
mathematical terms?” Moe 
aisked. “I can’t follow your 
words.” 

“Ah, yes. Kaff Kaff. I’m 
having some slight difficulty 
myself. ' I’m sure our valued 
friend will be good enough to 
simplify.” 

“All right,” the White Rat 
said. “He won’t talk.” 

-“Won’t talk? Good heavens! 
We can’t shut him up. Only 
yesterday he engaged me in a 
two-hour dispute over Robert’s 
Rules of Order, and—” 

“He won’t talk human.” 

“Oh. Ah.” 

“The qiiesto is can he?” the 
Chaldean Chicken said. “Many 
who are born under the Sign of 
Torso find it diffieulto to—” 

“Taurus! Taurus! And will 
you be quiet. He can talk'; he 
just won’t.” 

“What’s a fantasy?” Moe 
asked. 

“A hallucination.” 

“What’s that?” 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

“Something unreal.” 

“You mean he’s not real? 
But I only saw him yesterday, 
and he— ” 

“I have no intention of 
discussing the metaphysics of 
reality. Those of you who are 
interested may take my course 
in Thesis, Synthesis and An- 
tithesis. The situation with 
James is simple. He talks to us 
in our language; he refuses to 
talk to his parents in their 
lan^age; they are alarmed.” 

“Why are they alarmed?” 

“They think he’s autistic.” 

“They think he’s unreal?” 

“No, Moe,” the Professor 
said patiently. “They know he’s 
real. They think he has d 
psychological hang-up which 
prevents him from talking 
human.” 

“Do they know he talks 
Us?” 

“No.” 

“Then why don’t we tell 
them? Then everything will be 
ail right.” 

“Why don’t you tell them?” 

“I don’t know how to talk 
Them.” 

“Does anybody here knovy 
how? Ainybody?”' 

No answer. 

“So much for that brilliant 
suggestion,” the Professor said. 
“Now we come to the crux of 
the situation. They’re going to 
send him to a remedial school.” 

“What’s the matter with our 
school?” 


THE ANIMAL FAIR 


27 


“They don’t know about our 
school, you imbecile! They 
want him to go to a school 
where he can learn to speak 
English.” 

“What’s that?” 

“Them talk.” 

“Oh.” 

“Well, Kaff Kaff, as our 
most esteemed and valued 
scholar, surely you can have no 
objections to that program, my 
dear Professor.” 

“There’s a dilemma,” the 
White Rat said sourly. 

“Name it, sir. I say, describe 
it and we shall, Kaff Kaff, we 
shall cope.” 

“He’s so used to speaking Us 
that I’m afraid he won’t learn 
to speak Them.” 

“But why should he want to, 
my learned friend?” 

“Because he’s got Rutgers 
before him. ” 

“Ah, yes. To be sure. Your 
beloved alma mater. But I still 
can’t quite fathom, I say, 
perceive the basic difficulty.” 

“We’ve got to turn him off.” 

“I beg your pardon?” 

“We’ve got to stop speaking 
to him. We’ve got to break his 
Us habit so he can learn Them. 
Nobody can speak both.” 

“You can’t mean Coventry, 
Professor?” 

“I do. Don’t you under- 
stand? No matter where he 
goes, there will be others of us 
around. We must break the 
habit. Now. For his sake.” The 


Professor began to pace angrily. 
“He will forget how to speak 
Us. We’ll lose him. That’s the 
price. My best pupil. My 
favorite. Now he may never 
make Phi Beta Kappa.” 

The Debutantes looked de- 
spairing. “We love that boy,” 
they said. “He’s a real swinger.” 

“He is not,” the Senior 
Rabbit stated. “H^ is trust- 
worthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, 
courteous, kind, obedient, 
cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean 
and reverent.” 

“He told me aU about E 
equals MC two,” Moe said. “It 
gave me an insight. It will 
change the world. ” 

“Aquarium,” Miss Leghorn 
said profoundly. 

“He is a pest, a bore, a 
nuisance, a— a human,” the 
Professor shouted. “He doesn’t 
belong in our Schoolhouse. We 
want nothing to do with him; 
he’ll sell us out sooner or later. 
Coventry! Coventry!” Then he 
broke down completely. “I love 
him, too, but we must be brave. 
We’re going to lose him, but we 
must be brave for his sake. And 
somebody better warn the 
Princess.” 

James James Morrison Mor- 
rison shoved the barn door a 
little wider and swaggered into 
the Schoolhouse. There was no 
mistaking his pride in his walk. 
In an odd way it ..was a 
reflection of the Chairman's 
strut. 


28 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


“Ladies and gentlemen, good 
evening,” he said, as courteous 
as ever. 

The Debutantes sniffled and 
departed. 

“What’s the matter with 
them?” James asked curiously. 
He turned to the mole. “Uncle 
Moe, I just heard something up 
at the house that’ll interest you. 
It seems that Newton’s model 
of the universe may break 
down. Time is not reversible 
from the mathematical stand- 
point, and—” 

Here Moe broke down and 
went underground. 

“What’s the matter with 
him?” James asked. 

There was no answer. Every- 
body else had disappeared, too. 
The long sad silence had begun. 

The pheasant strutted, ac- 
companied by his harem, and 
he ignored James. Martha W. 
Woodchuck, who had taken on 
George’s surveying duties (she 
was his daughter-in-law), ig- 
nored James. Neither the 
Professor nor the Scoutmaster 
were to be seen. The does and 
the fawns hid in the woods. 
Moe Mole decided on an early 
hibernation. Jack Johnson went 
south for the winter, and His 
Eminence suddenly moved his 
residence to Paula’s territory. 
The crows could not resist the 
challenge of an art nouveau 
scarecrow on a farm a mile off 
and left. James James was 
abandoned. 


“Would you like to read my 
palm?” he asked Miss Leghorn, 

“Cluck,” she replied. 

“Princess,” he said, “why 
doesn’t anybody want to talk 
to me?” 

“Aeiou,” she replied. 

James was abandoned. 

“Well, at least he’s learned 
how to walk,” Dr. Rapp said, 
“and that’s a favorable prog- 
nosis. What beats me is how he 
can be autistic in such an 
articulate home. One would 
think that— Stop. An idea. Is it 
possible that the home is too 
articulate, that his autism is a 
refusal to compete with his 
betters?” 

“But there’s no competition 
in our home,” one of the two 
Connies said. 

“You don’t grasp the poten- 
tial of the^idea. In our society, 
if you don’t win, you have 
failed. This is our contemporary 
delusion. James may well be 
afraid of failure.” 

“But he’s only three years 
old.” 

“My dear Mrs. Dupree, 
competition begins in the 
womb.” 

“Not in mine,” Connie said 
indignantly. “I’ve got the 
fastest womb in the West.” 

“Yes. And now if you will 
excuse me, the first lesson will 
begin. That door out. Thank 
you.” Dr. Rapp buzzed the 
intercom. “Sherbet,” he said. A 


THE ANIMAL FAIR 


29 


chalice of orange sherbet was 
brought to him. 

“James,” he said, “would 
you like some orange ice? 
Here.” He proffered a spoonful. 
James engulfed it. “Good. 
Would you like some more? 
Then tell me what this is.” Dr. 
Rapp held up a striped ball. 
“It’s a ball, James. Repeat after 
me. Ball.” 

“Da,” James said. 

“No more orange ice, James, 
until you’ve spoken. Ball. Ball. 
Ball. And then the goody.” 

“Da.” 

“Perhaps he prefers the 
lemon flavor,” Dr. Rapp said 
the next week. He buzzed the 
intercom. “Lemon sherbet, 
please.” He was served. “James, 
would you like some lemon 
ice?” He proffered a spoonful 
which was absorbed. “Good. 
Would you like some more? 
Then tell me what this is. It’s a 
ball, James. Repeat after me. 
Ball. Ball. Ball.” 

“Da,” James said. 

“We’ll try ice cream,” Dr. 
Rapp said a week later. “We 
can’t permit him to fall into a 
pattern of familiarized societal 
behavior. He must be chal- 
lenged.” He buzzed the inter- 
com. “Chocolate ice cream, 
please.” 

James relished the chocolate 
ice cream but refused to 
identify the striped ball by 
name. 


“Da,” he said. 

“I’m beginning to dream 
that confounded expression,” 
Dr. Rapp complained. “A 
Roman centurion comes at me, 
draws his sword, and says, ‘Da.’ 
Stop. An idea. Is it a phallic 
symbol? Sexuality, begins with 
conception. Is the child reject- 
ing the facts of life?” 

He buzzed the intercom. 

“James, here is a banana. 
Would you like a bite? Feel 
free. Good. Good. Would you 
like another? Then tell me what 
this is. A ball. Ball. Ball. Ball.” 

“Da.” 

“I am failing,” Dr. Rapp said 
despondently. “Perhaps I had 
better go back to Dr. Da for a 
refresher— What am I saying? 
It’s Dr. Damon. Stop. An idea. 
Damon and Pythias. A friend- 
ship. Can it be that I have been 
too clinical with James. I shall 
establish fraternality.” 

“Good morning, James. It’s 
a beautiful October day. The 
autumn leaves are glorious. 
Would you like to go for a drive 
with me?” 

“Da,” James said. „ 

“Good. Good. Where would 
you like to go?” 

“To Rutgers,” James said, 
quite distinctly. 

“What did you say?” 

“I said I would like to go to 
Rutgers.” 


30 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


“But— good gracious— you’re 
talking.” 

“Yes, sir.” 

“Why haven’t you talked 
before?” 

“Because I damn well didn’t 
want to.” 

“Why are you talking now?” 

“Because I want to see the 
banks of the Old Raritan.” 

“Yes, yes. I see. Or do I?” 
Dr. Rapp buzzed the intercom. 
“Please get me Dr. Da, I mean 
Dr. Damon, on the phone. Tell 
him I think I’ve made an 
important discovery.” 

“Discovery,” James said, “is 
seeing what everybody else sees 
but thinking what no one else 
has thought. What’s your 
opinion? Shall we discuss it on 
the way to Rutgers?” 

So the second summer came. 
James and his father were 
strolling the lawns in a hot 
debate over the bearded irises 
which, alas, James pronounced 
iritheth. He had developed a 
human lisp. The issue was 
whether they should be picked 
and vased or left alone. James 
took the position that they 
were delicate ladies who should 
not be molested. His father, 
always pragmatic, declared that 
flowers had to justify their 
existence by decorating the 
house. Father and son parted 
on a note of exasperation, and 
the senior Dupree went to 
inspect the peach trees. James 


James Morrison Morrison stood 
quietly on the lawn and looked 
around. Presently he heard a 
familiar Kaff Kaff, and the 
Chairman appeared from under 
the lilac bush. 

“Well, if it isn’t my old 
friend, the Sex Maniac. How are 
you, sir?” 

The cock pheasant glared at 
him. 

“And how are PhyUis and 
Frances and Felice and all the 
rest, Mr. Chairman?” 

“Their names are, I say, the 
nomenclature is, Kaff Kaff, 
Gloria, Glenda, Gertrude, Godi- 
va, and—” Here the Chairman 
stopped short and looked hard 
at James. “But you’re the 
Monster.” 

“Yes, sir.” 

“My, how you’ve grown.” 

“Thank you, sir.” 

“Have you learned how to 
speak Them?” 

“Not very well, sir.” 

“Why not?” 

“I’ve got a lisp. They say it’s 
because I have a lazy tongue.” 

“But you still speak Us.” 

“Yes, sir.” 

“Amazing! I say, unheard 
of!” 

“Did you all think I’d ever 
forget? I’m the Prpfessor’s best 
pupil, and I’d die for dear old 
Rutgers. Can we have an 
emergency meeting right away 
in the Big Red Schoolhouse, 
Mr. Chairman? I’ve got a lot to 
teU you about the crazy, 


THE ANIMAL FAIR 
mixed-up human creatures.” 

* * * 

The meeting was attended 
by most of the regulars, plus a 
few newcomers. There was a 
Plymouth Rock hen who had 
become close friends with Miss 
Leghorn, perhaps because her 
only reply to the Chaldean 
harangues was, “Ayeh.” The 
holdout mockingbird had at last 
joined up now that Jack 
Johnson seemed to be remain- 
ing in the Florida keys. . . his 
(the mockingbird’s) name was 
Milton. There was one most 
exotic new member, a little 
Barbary ape who was very 
friendly but extremely shy. 
James shook hands and asked 
his name. 

“They called ^ me. . .well, 
they called me 'I’he Great 
Zunia. Knows All. Does All.” 

“Who’s ‘they,’ Zunia?” 

“The Reeson & Tickel 
Circus.” 

“You were in the circus?” 

“Well. . . yes. I. . . I did 
tricks. Knows All. Does All. I 
was what they. . . what they 
call a headliner. You know. 
Rode a motorcycle with the 
lights on. But I. . . I. . .” 

“Yes?” 

“But I cracked up when 
we. . . when we were playing 
Princeton. Totaled the bike. I 
got. . . well. . . I split when they 
were picking up the pieces.” 


31 

“Why did you run away, 
Zunia?” 

“I. . . I hate to say this. . . 
never blow the whistle on 
another man’s act. . . but. . . 
well. . . I hate show business.” 

“Zunia, we’re all delighted 
that you’re here, and you know 
you’re more than welcome, but 
there’s a problem.” 

“Well. . . gee. . . just a little 
fruit now and then, apples 
and—” 

“Not food. The weather. 
Winters can be damn cold on 
Red Hill farm. Don’t you think 
you might be more comfortable 
farther south?” 

“Well. . .if it’s all the same 
to. . . well. I’d rather stay here. 
Nice folks.” 

“If that’s what you want, 
great for us. My parents are 
going to have fits if they ever 
see you, so stay under cover.” 

“I’m a night-type anyway.” 

“Good. Now stand up, 
please. All the way up, and 
we’ll stand back to back. 
Professor, are we the same 
size?” 

No answer. 

“Professor?” 

Moe Mole said, “The profes- 
sor is indisposed.” 

“What?” 

“He couldn’t come.” 

“Why not?” 

“He’s not feeling so good.” 

“Where is he?” 

“Up in his study.” 

“I’d better go and • No, 


32 

wait. Are we the same size, 
Zunia and me? Anybody? 
Everybody.” 

It was agreed that James and 
Zunia were an approximate 
match. James promised to 
pinch some of his sweaters and 
wooly underwear for Zunia to 
wear during the winter months. 

“If you. . . well. I’m not 
asking. . . but I’d love a sweater 
with Boston on it.” 

“Boston! Why Boston?” 

“Because they hate show 
business.” 

James shinnied up one of the 
rough oak columns that sup- 
ported the barn roof, walked 
across the heavy beam above 
the empty hay loft as casually 
as a steelworker (his mother 
would have screamed at the 
sight), came to a small break in 
the loft wall and knocked 
politely. 

A faint voice said, “Who is 
it?” 

“It’s the Monster, sir. I’ve 
come back.” 

“No! Really? Come in. 
Come in.” 

James poked his head 
through the break. The Profes- 
sor’s study was lined with moss. 
There were fronds of dried grass 
and mint leaves on the floor on 
which the Professor lay. He 
looked very ill and weak, but 
his albino red eyes were as 
fierce as ever. 

“Well, James, you’ve come 
back,” he panted. “I never 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

thought— Do you . speak 
Them?” 

“Yes, sir.” 

“And you still speak Us. I 
would never— Phi Beta Kappa 
and cum laude for you. No 
doubt of it.” 

“I visited Rutgers, sir.” 

“Did you. Did you, now. 
And?” 

“It’s beautiful, just like you 
said,” James lied. “And they 
still remember you.” 

“No!” 

“Yes, sir. They can’t under- 
stand how you escaped. They 
think you probably bribed the 
lab attendant, but a few claim 
you had something on him. 
Blackmail.” 

The Professor chuckled, but 
it turned into a painful hacking. 

After the spasm subsided 
James asked, “What’s wrong, 
sir?” 

“Nothing. Nothing. Probably 
a touch of the Asiatic flu. 
Nothing serious.” 

“Please tell me.” 

The Professor looked at him. 
“Science is devotion to truth,” 
he said. “I’ll be truthful. I’m 
badly wounded.” 

“Oh, sir! How?” 

“An air rifle. A couple of 
farm boys.” 

“Who are they? From the 
Rich place? I’ll-” 

“James! James! There is no 
room' for revenge in science. 
Did Darwin retaliate when he 
was ridiculed?” 


i ur: animal fair 


3.3 


“No, sir.” 

“Did Pastour?” 

“N-no, sir.” 

“Will you be true to what 
I've taught you?” 

“I’ll try, sir, b-but those 
damn boys. . .” 

“No anger. Reason always; 
anger never. And no crying, 
James. I need your courage 
now.” 

“If I have any, sir.” 

“You have it. I remember 
George. Now I want you to 
take my place and continue my 
classes.” 

“Oh, Professor, you’ll be—” 

“I take it you’re on speaking 
terms with your father now. 
Learn all you can from him and 
pass it on to Us. That’s an 
order, James.” 

“Yes, sir. It won’t be easy.” 

“Nothing is ever easy. Now 
I’m going to ask for an act of 
great courage.” 

“Sir?” 

“I can’t linger like this. It’s 
too painful and it’s useless.” 

“Professor, maybe we can—” 

“No, no. I’m hopeless. If 
you hadn’t cut my anatomy 
classes when you fell in love 
with Paula, you’d—” He hacked 
again, even more painfully. At 
last he said, “James, end this 
for rhe, as quickly as possible. 
You know what I mean.” 

James was stupefied. At last 
he managed to whisper, “S- 
sir. . 

“Yes. I see you understand.” 


“Sir, [ c-couldn’t.” 

“Yes you can.” 

“B-but I wouldn't know 
how.” 

“Science always finds a 
way.” 

“At least let me ask my—” 

“You will ask no one. You 
will tell no one.” 

“But you leave me all alone 
with this.” 

“Yes, I do. That’s how W’e 
grow up.” 

“Sir, I have to refuse. I can’t 
do it.” ^ 

“No. You just need time to 
make up your mind. Isn’t there 
a meeting on the floor?” 

“Yes, sir. I asked for it.” 

“Then go to your meeting. 
Give them my best. Come back 
quickly. Quickly.” The Profes- 
sor began to tremble and rustle 
on the dri^d grass. 

“Have you had anything to 
eat, sir? I'll bring you some- 
thing, and then we’ll talk it 
over. You have to advise me.” 

“No dependence,” the White 
Rat said. “You must decide for 
yourself.” 

The Chairman was in the fvdl 
flood of oratory when James 
dim bed down* from the loft and 
seated himself with his friends, 
the birds and the beasts, but he 
came to a close fairly promptly 
and gave the floor to James 
James, who stood up and 
looked around. 

“I’m going to tell you about 
Them,” James began quietly. 


34 

“I’ve met Them and lived with 
Them, and I’m beginning to 
understand Them. We must, 
too. Many of Them are damned 
destroyers— we all know that— 
but what we don’t know is that 
a new breed of Them is rising in 
revolt against destruction. 
They’re our kind. They live in 
peace and harmony with the 
earth; whatever they take from 
it they return; they do not kill 
and they fight those who do. 
But they’re young and weak 
and outnumbered, and they 
need our help. We must help 
them. We must! 

“Now up to now we’ve done 
nothing. We hide from the 
destroyers and use our intel- 
ligence to outwit them. We’ve 
just been passive victims. Now 
we must become activists, 
militant activists. The Professor 
won’t like this; thA’f ’ great 
scholar still believes in reason 
and light. So do I, but I reserve 
reason and light only for those 
who also are guided by reason 
and light. For the rest, militant 
action. Militant! 

“I heard my father once tell 
a story about Confucius, a very 
wise sage of many years ago. 
Although he was one of Them, 
he was much like our Professor 
and may have been almost as 
wise. One of his students came 
to him and said, ‘Master, a new 
wise man named Christ has 
appeared in the West. He 
teaches that we must return 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

good for evil. What is your 
opinion?’ Confucius thought 
and answered, ‘No. If we return 
good for evil, what then will we 
return for good? Return good 
for good; for evil return 
justice.’ ’’ 

James’ voice began to shake. 
“They shot the Professor. You 
knew that, didn’t you. They 
shot him. He’s not indisposed. 
He’s up there and he’s hurting. 
They— We must learn to return 
militant justice for evil. We 
can’t use this barn as a 
sanctuary any more. We must 
leave it when we graduate and 
travel and teach. There is a 
desperate battle being fought 
for what little remains of our 
earth. We must all join the 
fight.” 

“But how?” Moe Mole asked 
reasonably. 

“That will be the subject of 
my first lesson tomorrow,” 
James answered. “And now, 
with the permission of our 
distinguished Chairman, I 
would like to move that this 
meeting be adjourned. I have 
the Professor to look after.” 

“So moved,” the cock 
pheasant said. “Seconded? 
Thank you. Miss Plymouth. 
Moved and seconded. This 
meeting is adjourned.” 

“Zunia,” James said, “wait 
here for me, please. I’ll ne^ed 
your help. Back in a little 
while.” 

James walked to the nearest 


THE ANIMAL FAIR 

apple tree, began picking up 
fallen apples and hurling them 
into space. His mother glanced 
out of the kitchen window and 
smiled at the sight of a small 
boy happily lazing away a 
summer afternoon. 

“If I do what the Professor 
asks, it’ll be murder,” James 
thought. “They call it mercy 
killing, but I’ve heard my father 
say it’s murder all the same. He 
says some doctors do it by 
deliberately neglecting to give 
certain medicines. He says 
that’s murder all the same, and 
he doesn’t approve. He says 
religion is against it, and if you 
do it you go to hell, wherever 
that is. He says life is sacred. 

“But the Professor hurts. He 
hurts bad and he says there’s no 
hope. I don’t want him to hurt 
any more. I want the boys who 
shot him to hurt, but not the 
Professor. I could just bring him 
a little milk and let him die all 
by himself, but that could take 
a long time. It wouldn’t be fair 
to him. So— All right— I’ll go to 
hell.” 

James returned to the house, 
lisped courteously to his 
mother and asked for a small 
cup of warm milk to hold him 
until dinner time. He received 
it, climbed upstairs to his room 
and put the cup down. Then he 
went to his parents’ bathroom. 
He climbed up on the wash- 
stand, opened the medicine 
cabinet, which had been de- 


35 

dared off-limits for him on pain 
of frightful punishment, and 
took a small vial off one of the 
shelves. It was- labeled “Seco- 
nal” and was filled with bright 
orange capsules. James James 
removed a capsule, returned the 
vial, closed the cabinet and 
climbed down from the sink. 

“What are you stealing?” the 
Burmese princess asked. 

“Medicine,” James answered 
shortly and returned to his 
room. He pulled the capsule 
open and shook its contents 
into the cup of milk. He stirred 
gently with his forefinger. 

“Mercy, James, you’ll have 
to put your humor on a diet. 
It’s gaining weight.” 

“I’m sorry. I’m not feeling 
funny right now. Princess. In 
fact I feel damn rotten lousy.” 

“Why? What’s wrong?” 

“I. can’t, tell you. I can’t tell « 
anybody. Excuse me.” 

He carried the cup of milk to 
the Big Red Barn where the 
Great Zunia was patiently 
waiting. “Thanks,” James said. 
“Now look. I’ve got to shinny 
up that column, and I can’t do 
it and carry this cup. You can, 
easy. Go up with the cup. Don’t 
spill it. I’ll meet yoE on the 
beam.” 

They met on the beam and 
James received the cup. 

“It looks like milk but it 
tastes funny,” Zunia said. 

“You didn’t drink any!” 

“Well, no. . . just stuck my 


36 

tongue in. .. you know. Cur- 
ious. It’s. . . well, ' traditional 
v^ith us.” ’ 

“Oh. That’s all right. It’s 
medicine for the Professor.” 

“Sure. Tell him. . . tell him 
get well soon.” 

“He’ll be well soon,” James 
promised. Zunia flipflopped 
and catapulted himself to 
another empty loft. James 
crossed the beam and knocked 
at the Professor’s study. “It’s 
James again, sir.” 

He could barely hear the 
“Come in.” He poked his head 
in. The Professor was trembling. 
“I brought you a little 
something, sir. Warm milk.” 
James placed the cup close to 
the Professor’s head. “Please 
drink a little. It’ll give you 
strength.” 

■Trhpossible.” 

“For me, sir. You dwd that 
much to your best pupil. And 
then we’ll discuss your pro- 
posal.” James waited until he 
saw the White Rat begin to 
drink. He withdrew his head, 
sat down on the beam and 
began to chat lightly while tears 
blurred his eyes. 

“Your proposal. Professor, 
raises an interesting dilemma in ' 
the relationship between teach- 
er and pupil. Let me tell you 
about my lunatic teacher at the 
remedial school. Dr. Rapp, and 
my relations with him. I’d value 
your opinion. How is the milk, 
sir?” 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

“Tertible. Did you say' 
lunatic?” 

“Drink it anyway. Yes, 
lunatic. He’s a psychiatrist, 
excessively educated, and—” ‘ 

“There' is no such thing.” 

“Not for a genius like 
yourself, sir, but in lesser 
people too much education 
produces alienation from real- 
ity. That was Dr. Rapp.” 

“You must be specific,” the 
White Rat said severely. 

“Well, sir, let me contrast 
him with yourself. You always 
understand the capacity and 
potential of your students and 
treat them accordingly. Dr. 
Rapp was so crammed with 
education that he never bother- ■ 
ed to understand us; he simply 
tried to fit us into the textbook 
cases he’d read.” 

“Hmmm. What was: his 
school?” 

“I was afraid you’d ask that, 
sir. You won’t like the answer. 
Abigail College.” 

“What? What?” 

“Abigail College, sir. Finish- 
ed your milk?” 

“Yes, and it was disgusting.” 

“But you sound stronger 
already, sir.” 

“Where is Abigail College?” 

“In a state called Kansas.” 

“Hmp! Fresh-water college. 
No wonder.” The Professor’s 
speech began ^to slur. James 
began to rock back and forth in 
agony. 

“What would you do if 


THE ANIMAL FAIR 

this. . . this Abigail made same 
proposal to you, James?” 

“Oh, sir, that’s not a fair 
question. I don’t like or respect 
Dr. Rapp. I love you.” 

“No place— f ’love— in 

science.” 

“No, sir. Always be objec- 
tive. That’s what you taught 
me.” 

“Gett’n sleepy. . .James. . , 
’bout Zunia.” 

“What about Zunia, sii'?” 

“Like him?” 

“Very much, sir. You’ll 
enjoy teaching him.” 

“Don’t. . . d’not le’him. . . 
eame to us f’m Princeton, you 
know. . . d’nt let’m talk you 
into going Princeton. Yes?” 

“Never, sir. Rutgers for- 
ever.” 

There was a long, long pause. 
The painful rustling in the 
study stopped. James poked his 
head in. The cup of milk was 
empty. The Professor was 
peacefully dead. James reached 
in, picked him up, carried him 
across the beam and skinned 
down the oak column with the 
body in one hand. On the main 
floor he stamped his foot hard, 
three times. He repeated the 
signal three times. At last Moe 
Mole appeared from the depths. 

“That you, James?” 

“Yes. Please come with me. 
Uncle Moe. I need your help.” 

Moe shuffled alongside 
James James, blinking in the 
twilight. “Trouble, James?” 


37 

“The Professor’s dead. We’ve 
got to bury him.” 

“Now that’s a shame. And 
we never started my astronomy 
lessons. "Where’s the body?” 

“Right here. I’m carrying 
him.” James led Moe to the 
sundial on the south lawn. “Dig 
here, Uncle Moe. I want to bury 
the Professor under the center 
of the pedestal.” 

“Easy,” Moe said. He tun- 
neled down and disappeared, 
little flurries of earth sprayed 
out of the tunnel mouth. 
Presently Moe reappeared. “All 
set. Got a nice little chamber 
dead center. Where is he now?” 

James placed the body at the 
mouth of the tunnel. Moe 
pushed it before him and was 
again lost from sight. He 
reappeared in another flurry of 
soil. “Just filling in,” he 
explained apologetically. “Got 
to pack it solid. Don’t want any 
gi'ave robbers nosing around, do 
we?” 

“No,” James said. “Bury 
him for keeps.” 

Moe finished the job, 
mumbled a few words of 
condolence and shambled off. 
James stared hard at the 
sundial. “Militant,” he said at 
last and turned away. The 
weathered bronze plate of the 
sundial was engraved with a line 
from the immortal Thomas 
Henry Huxley: “The great end 
of life is not knowledgf' i>ul 
action.” ■ 


IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A 
million dollars with science 
fiction, what you have to do is 
add pictures. It wouldn’t hurt, 
also, to keep it simple. The 
most impressive successes, fi- 
nancially, in the fields of 
fantasy and science fiction have 
been not on the printed page 
but on the movie screen and in 
the funny papers. 

Movies as a popular culture 
category have been inspiring 
lots of books for some years, 
but it is only in the Seventies 
that attention is being paid to 
comic strips and comic books 
by book publishers. Assuming 
that science fiction readers are 
also interested in looking at 
science fiction drawings, and 
maybe just funnies in general, 
F&SF has asked me to now and 
then review some of the new 
books devoted to fcdmic books 
and strips. 

Everybody has grown a lot 
since 1938. National Periodicals 
has grown from a hole-in-the- 
wall operation into the giant 
publishing arm of an even more 
giant conglomerate. Superman 
has grown from a middle-sized 
alien who could jump over 
middle-sized buildings to the 
huge muscle-bound “hip, com- 
mitted Superman of the Seven- 
ties.” E. Nelson Bridwell has 
grown, as he tells us in his 
breathless introduction, to SU- 


RON GOULART 

BOOKS 


SUPERMAN: From The 30s to 
the 70s, E. Nelson Bridwell, Ed., 
Crown, $10.00 

POPEYE, E. C. Segar, Nostalgia 
Press, $7.95 

COMIX, Les Daniels, Outerbridge 
& Dienstrey, $7.95 
COMICS AND THEIR CREA- 
TORS, Martin Sheridan, Luna 
Press (Box 1049, Brooklyn, N. Y. 
11202), $4.00 



: BOOKS 

I PERMAN: FROM THE SOS TO 
i THE 70S, from a 6 V 2 -y ear-old 
: Mickey Mouse fan into a hip 
committed comic book editor 
of the Seventies. 

In the earliest episodes 
reprinted in this compilation, 
‘ Superman uses his miraculous 
powers on a small scale, even 
having the time to drop in at 
211 Court Ave. to reprimand a 
wife beater. He seems to enjoy 
his abilities. He shows off, 
lifting hoods’ streamlined 1938 
: cars over his head, wisecracking 
as he leaves a thug on top of a 
telephone pole. The early 
Superman was a pacifist, too. In 
his second adventure he con- 
, Vinces two warring nations that 
“it’s obvious you’ve been 
fighting only to promote the 
sale of munitions!” Gradually, 
however, he takes to fighting 
bigger and better villains, such 
as Luthor, “the mad scientist 
who plots to dominate the 
earth,” and to going up against 
the Axis nations during World 
War II. 

Today’s Superman is indeed 
hip (even Clark Kent is hip and 
wears purple suits, yellow shirts 
and wide ties). He has long 
shaggy hair and spends a good 
deal of his time at rock concerts 
and rapping with cause-oriented 
youths. There are still mad 
scientists, but they are more 
interested in causing campus 
unrest and committing vast acts 
of pollution. What’s happened 


39 I 

over the three decades repre- | 
sented in this book is that [j 
Superman has become more Ij 

aware of his young audience. I 

Back in 1938 E. Nelson Bridwell !] 
and thousands like him didn’t ! 
care about munitions makers 
and wife beater^ but Superman 
went after them anyway. 

Since this collection was put 
together under the eye of the 
people who control the Super- 
man copyright and is edited by 
a man who is still employed by 
them, it is silent oa certain 
aspects of Superman history. 

For instance, in his nine page 
introduction Bridwell manages 
not to mention by name Jerry 
Siegel and Joe Shuster, the two 
Cleveland science fiction fans 
who created Superman in the 
early Thirties and spent years 
tryingj^ 9 ,.gdl it. But at least the 
Siegel & Shuster names havQ 
been left on some of the early 
stories. Wayne Boring, whose 
work makes up nearly a third of 
the book (commencing with 
page 198) and whose drawing 
of Superman appears on the 
cover, is not mentioned at all. 
These omissions are nearly as 
interesting as what’s been 
included in the collection, and I 
look forward to a Superman 
history some day that goes 
beyond nostalgia. 

Meanwhile, if you just want 
to look at pictures, and ignore 
the sociological and financial 
implications, this is a fair 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


40 

sampling of the high spots of 
the man of steel’s long career. 

Those who know Popeye 
only from early morning 
animated cartoons may not 
realize he was a pioneer super 
hero or that many of his early 
adventures had a good deal of 
science fiction and fantasy to 
them. The newspaper strips 
reprinted in POPEYE, a com- 
plete year’s run from the 
middle 1930s, involve the 
indestructible sailor with invis- 
ibility, ESP, witchcraft, magic 
and the fourth dimension. 

Technically E.C. Segar was 
probably the worst cartoonist 
to work for Hearst in the 20s 
and 30s (the things fellow 
Hearst artists like Herriman, 
DeBeck and McManus could do 
are much beyond Segar), but 
he was a highly quirky and 
individual man. He also had a 
peculiar and eccentric sense of 
humor. These strips, devoted to 
Popeye’s encounters with the 
mythical little animal known as 
a jeep, with the Sea Hag and 
with sundry lowlifes and 
crooks, are funny. Funny like 
no one else’s strips. Though 
Segar could use old burlesque 
gags, he also had the ability to 
make humor out of his own 
materials. He also had a highly 
personal sense of timing. One 
simple sequence here, where the 
villain tries to steal the magic 
jeep from Popeye, goes on for 


almost a month, with a new 
jeep-stealing gag every day. 

All in all, this is an 
entertaining book of lowbrow 
f^tasy. Bill Blackboard’s intro- 
duction is informative, though a 
little overzealous. 

Les Daniels’ COM IX is a • 
well-intentioned attempt to 
present not only a history of 
the comic book but a history of 
the comic strip as well. In a 200 
page book which is half 
illustrations this means he has 
to talk fast and telescope a 
good deal of information. 
Fortunately there is a biblio- 
graphy, so readers can use it to 
check the full texts from which 
Daniels has clipped his bits of 
history, insight and sociological 
comment. The only chapter he 
seems to have thought up on his 
own is the one wherein he 
attacks, at high pitch and great 
length, psychiatrist Frederick 
Wertham. Wertham had the 
temerity, nearly two decades 
ago, to suggest that some of the 
eye-jabbing, face-stomping and 
disemboweling then in some 
comic books was a little 
excessive. 

On the positive side, a good 
deal of interesting old comic 
book pages are reprinted, 
including a complete Donald 
Duck episode by long-unsung 
Disney artist Carl Barks. Dan- 
iels, though, seems to suffer 
from whatever the visual 


BOOKS 


41 


equivalent of a tin ear is, maybe 
a glass eye. He will write 
glowingly in the text of the 
splendid work of a specific 
artist on a specific feature. 
When you turn to the section 
illustrating that specific feature, 
you will find a sample done by 
an artist not mentioned at all. 
It’s not clear whether Daniels 
couldn’t get the samples he 
hoped for, or whether he 
simply doesn’t recognize the 
work of the cartoonists he’s 
talking about. Anybody who 
can confuse the late Lou Fine 
with a second-rate girlie artist 
like Bill Ward, as Daniels does 
in his section on Blackhawk, is 
not the most perceptive of 
graphic historians. 

COMICS AND THEIR 
CREATORS first appeared thir- 
ty years ago. Back then not too 
many people were concerned 
with the funnies as an American 
idiom or an important manifes- 
tation of popular culture. 
Sheridan was content with 
presenting quick m£^azine-style 
profiles of several dozen of the 
comic artists then active and 
illustrating them with pictures 
of the cartoonists and samples 
of their strips. 

He is no great prose stylist, 
and his history is fuzzy in spots, 


Startling evidence 
that modern science 
confirms the reality 
of telepathy, 
clairvoyance, 
precognition, and 
psychokinesis 

THE ROOTS OF 
COINCIDENCE 

An Excursion into 
Parapsychology 

by ARTHUR KOESTLER 

$5.95, now at your 
bookstore 
RANDOM yV 


but Sheridan had the advantage 
of questioning most of his 
subjects first hand. At the time 
he did the book this meant he 
could talk to George McManus, 
Rudolph Dirks, George Herri- 
man. Milt Gross, Bud Fishef, 
Alex Raymond, Ed Wheelan 
and several other major figures. 
Sheridan covers adventure 
strips, science fiction strips, 
humor strips and even gag 
panels. An enjoyable book gnd 
a welcome paperback reprint. 



"Skinburn," as you'll soon see, is not your usual -n 
espionage story, as might be expected from Philip 
Farmer, long one of thp most original and inventive 
. thinkers in the sf field (or out of it, as evidenced by 
his latest book, TARZAN alive. Doubleday, a 
definitive biography of Lord Greystoke that 
establishes, among many other things, that Tarzan lives!) 


Skinburn 

by PHILIP JOSE FARMER 


“YOUR SKIN TINGLES 
every time you step out- 
doors?” Doctor Mills said. 
“And when you stand under 
the skylight in your apartment? 
But only now and then when 
you’re standing in front of a 
window, even if the sunlight 
falls on you?” 

“Yes,” Kent Lane said. “It 
doesn’t matter whether or not 
it’s night or day, tVie skies are 
cloudy or clear,, or the skylight 
is open or closed. The tingling is 
strongest on the exposed parts 
of my body, my face and hands 
or whatever. But the tingling 
spreads from the exposed skin 
to all over my body, though it’s 
much weaker under my clothes. 
And the tingling eventually 
arouses vaguely erotic feelings.” 

The dermatologist walked 
around him. When he had 
completed his circuit, he said, 
“Don’t you ever tap?” 

“No, I just peel»and blister. I 


usually avoid burning by 
staying' out of the sun as much 
as possible. But that isn’t doing 
me any good now, as you can 
see. I look as if I’d been on the 
beach all day. That makes me 
rather conspicuous, you know. 
In my work, you can’t afford to 
be conspicuous.” 

The doctor said, “I know.” 

He meant that he was aware 
that Lane was a private 
detective. What he did not 
know was that Lane was 
working on a case for a federal 
government agency. CACO— Co- 
ordinating Authority for 
Cathedric Organizations— was 
short of competent help. It had 
hired, after suitable security 
checks, a number of civilian 
agents. CACO would have hired 
only the best, of course, and 
Lane was among these. 

Lane hesitated and then said, 
“I keep getting these phone 
calls.” 


42 


SKINBURN 


The doctor said nothing. 
Lane said, “There’s nobody at 
the other end. He, or she, hangs 
up just as soon as I pick the 
phone up.” 

“You think the skinburn and 
the phone calls are related?” 

“I don’t know. But I’m 
putting all unusual phenomena 
into one box. The calls started a 
week after I’d had a final talk 
with a lady who’d been chasing 
me and wouldn’t quit. She fias a 
Ph.p. in bioelectronics and is a 
big shot in the astronautics 
industry. She’s brilliant, charm- 
ing, and witty, when she wants 
to be, but very plain in face and 
plane in body and very nasty 
when frustrated. And so. . .” 

He was, he realized, talking 
too much about someone who 
worked in a top-secret field. 
Moreover, why would , Mills 
want to hear the sad story of 
Dr. Sue Brackwell’s unrequited 
love for Kent Lane, private eye? 
She had been hung up on him 
for some obscure psychological 
reason and, in her more rational 
moments, had admitted that 
they could never make it as 
man and wife, or even as man 
and lover, for more than a 
month, if that. But she was not, 
outside of the laboratory, 
always rational, and she would 
not take no from her own good 
sense or from him. Not until he 
had gotten downright vicious 
over the phone two years ago. 

Three weeks ago, she had 


_ 43 

called him again. But she had 
said nothing to disturb him. 
After about five minutes of 
light chitchat about this and 
that, including reports on their 
health, she had said good-by, 
making it sound like an ave 
atque vale, and had hung up. 
Perhaps she had wanted to find 
out for herself if the sound of 
his voice still thrilled her. Who 
knew? 

Lane became aware that the 
doctor was waiting for him to 
finish the sentence. He said, 
“The thing is, these phone calls 
occurred at first when I was 
under the skylight and making 
love. So I moved the bed to a, 
corner where nobody could 
possibly see it from the upper 
stories of the Parmenter Build- 
ing next door. 

“After that, the phone 
started ringing when^yer I took 
a woman into my apartment, 
even if it was just for a cup of 
coffee. It’d be ringing before I’d 
get the door open, and it’d ring 
at approximately three-minute 
intervals thereafter. I changed 
my phone number twice, but it 
didn’t do any good. And if I 
went to the woman’s apartment 
instead, her phone started 
ringing.” 

“You think this lady scien- 
tist is making these calls?” 

“Never! It’s not her style. It 
must be a coincidence that the 
calls started so soon after our 
final conversation.” 


44 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


“Did your women also hear 
the phone?” 

Lane smiled and said, “Au- 
diohallucinations? No. They 
heard the phone ringing, too. 
One of them solved the 
problem by tearing her phone 
out. But I solved mine by 
putting in a phone jack and 
disconnecting the phone when I 
had in mind another sort of 
connection.” 

“That’s all very interesting, 
but I fail to see what it has to 
do with your skin problem.” 

“Phone calls aside,” Lane 
said, “could the tingling, the 
peeling and blistering, and the 
mild erotic reactions be psy- 
chosomatic?” 

“I’m not qualified to say,” 
Mills said. “I can, however, give 
you the name of a doctor 
whose specialty is recom- 
mending various specialists.” 

Lane looked at his wrist- 
watch. Rhoda should be about 
done with her hairdresser. He 
said, “So far. I’m convinced I 
need a dermatologist, not a 
shrink. I was told you’re the 
best skin doctor in Washington 
and perhaps the best on the east 
coast.” 

“The world, actually,” Doc- 
tor Mills said. “I’m sorry. I can 
do nothing for you at this time. 
But I do hope you’ll inform me 
of new developments. I’ve never 
had such a puzzling, and, 
therefore, interesting, case.” 

Lane used the phone in the 


ground-floor lobby to call his 
fiancee’s hairdresser. He was 
told that Rhoda had just left 
but that she would pick him up 
across the street from the . 
doctor’s building. 

He got out of the building 
just in time to see Rhoda drive 
his MG around the corner, 
through a stoplight, and into 
the path of a pickup truck. 
Rhoda, thrown out by the 
impact (she was careless about 
using her safety belt), landed in 
front of a Cadillac. IJespite its 
locked brakes, it slid on over 
her stomach. 

Lane had seen much as an 
adviser in Vietnam and as a 
member of the San Francisco 
and Brooklyn police depart- 
ments. He thought he was 
tough, but the violent and 
bloody deaths of Leona and 
Rhoda within four months was 
too much. He stood motionless, 
noting only that the tingling 
was getting warmer and spread- 
ing over his body. There was no 
erotic reaction, or, if there 
were, he was too numb to feel 
it. He stood there until a 
policeman got the nearest 
doctor, who happened to be 
Mills, to come out and look at 
him. Mills gave Lane a mild 
sedative, and the cop sent him 
home in a taxi. But Lane was at 
the morgue an hour- later, 
identified Rhoda, and then 
went to the precinct station to 
answer some questions. 


SKINBURN 


45 


He went home prepared to 
drink himself to sleep, but he 
found two CACO agents, 
Daniels and Lyons, waiting for 
him. They seemed to have 
known about Rhoda’s death 
almost as quickly as he, and so 
he knew that they had been 
shadowing him or Rhoda. He 
answered some of their ques- 
tions and then told them that 
the idea that Leona and Rhoda 
might be spies was not worth a 
second’s consideration. Besides, 
if they were working for 
SKIZO, or some other outfit, 
why would SKIZO, or whoever, 
kill their own agents? 

“Or did CACO kill them?” 
Lane said. 

The two looked at him as if 
he were unspeakably stupid. 

“All right,” Lane said. “But 
there’s absolutely no evidence 
to indicate that their deaths 
were caused by anything but 
pure accident. I know it’s quite 
a coincidence. . .” 

Daniels said, “CACO had 
both under surveillance, of 
course. But CACO saw nothing 
significant in the two women’s 
behavior. However, that in itself 
is suspicious, you know. Nega- 
tive evidence demands a posi- 
tive inquiry.” 

“That maxim demands the 
investigation of the entire 
world,” Lane said. 

“Nevertheless,” Lyons said, 
“SKIZO must’ve spotted you 
by now. They’d have to be 


blind not to. Why in hell don’t 
you stay out from under 
sunlamps?” 

“It’s a skin problem,” Lane 
said. “As you must know, sinci 
you’ve undoubtedly bugged 
Doctor Mills’ office.” 

“Yeah, we know,” Daniel, 
said. “Frankly, Lane, we got 
two tough ' alternatives to 
consider. Either you’re going 
psycho, or else SKIZO is on to 
you. Either way. . .” 

“You’re thinking in two- 
valued terms only,” Lane said. 
“Have you considered that a 
third party, one with no 
connection at all with SKIZO, 
has entered the picture?” 

Daniels cracked his huge 
knuckles and said, “Like who?” 

“Like whom, you mean. 
How would I know? But you’ll 
have to admit that it’s not only 
possible but highly probable.” 

Daniels stood up. Lyons 
jumped up. Daniels said, “We 
don’t have to admit anything. 
Come along with us. Lane.” 

If CACO thought he was 
lying, CACO would see to it 
that he was never seen again. 
CACO was mistaken about him, 
of course, but CACO, like 
doctors, buried mistakes. 

On leaving the apartment 
building. Lane immediately felt 
the warm tingling on his face 
and hands and, a few seconds 
later, the spreading of the 
warmth to his crotch. He forgot 
about that a moment lain 


46 

when Daniels shoved him as he 
started to get into the back seat 
of the CACO automobile. He 
turned and said, “Keep your 
dirty hands off me, Daniels! 
Push me, and I may just walk 
off. You might have to shoot 
md to stop me, and you 
wouldn’t want to do that in 
broad daylight, would you?” 

“Try it and find out,” 
Daniels said. “Now shut up and 
get in or get knocked in. You 
know we’re being observed. 
Maybe that’s why you’re 
making a scene.” 

Lane got into the back seat 
with Lyons, and Daniels drove 
them away. It was a hot June 
afternoon, and evidently the 
CACO budget did not provide 
for cars with air conditioning. 
They rode with the windows 
down while Lyons and Daniels 
asked him questions. Lane 
answered all truthfully, if not 
fully, but he was not concen- 
trating on his replies. He 
noticed that when he hung his 
hand out of the window, it felt 
warm and tingling. 

Fifteen minutes later, the big 
steel doors of an underground 
garage clanged shut behind him. 
He was interrogated in a small 
room below the garage. Elec- 
trodes were attached to his 
head and body, and various 
machines with large staring 
lenses were fixed on him while 
he was asked a series of 
questions. He never found out 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

what the interpreters of the 
machines’ graphs and meters 
thought about his reactions to 
the questions. Just as the 
electrodes were being detached. 
Smith, the man who had hired 
Lane for CACO, entered. Smith 
had a peculiar expression. He 
called the interrogators to one 
side and spoke to them in a low 
voice. Lane caught something 
about “a telephone call.” A 
minute later, he was told he 
could go home. But he was to 
keep in touch, or, rather, keep 
himself available for CACO. For 
the time being, he was 
suspended from service. 

Lane wanted to tell Smith 
that he was quitting CACO, but 
he had no desire to be 
“detained” again. Nobody quit 
CACO; it let its employees go 
only when it felt like it. 

Lane went home in a taxi 
and had just started to pour 
himself a drink when the 
doorman called up. 

“Feds, Mr. Lane. They got 
proper ID’s.” 

Lane sighed, downed his 
Scotch and, a few minutes later, 
opened the door. Lyons and 
two others, all holding .45 
automatic pistols, were in the 
hall. 

Lyons had a bandage around 
his head and some Band-Aids 
on one cheek and his chin. Both 
eyes were bloodshot. 

“You’re under arrest. Lane,” 
Lyons said. 


SKINBURN 


In the chair in the interroga- 
tion room, attached once again 
to various machines, Lane 
answered everything a dozen 
times over. Smith personally 
conducted the questioning, 
perhaps because he wanted to 
make sure that Lyons did not 
attack Lane. 

It took Lane ten hours to 
piece together what had hap- 
pened from occasional com- 
ments by Smith and Lyons. 
Daniels and Lyons had followed 
Lane when he had been released 
from CACO HQ. Trailing Lane 
by a block, Daniels had driven 
through a stoplight and into the 
path of a hot rod doing fifty 
miles an hour. Daniels had been 
killed. Lyons had escaped with 
minor injuries to the body but a 
large one to the psyche. For no 
logical reason, he blamed Lane 
for the accident. 

After the interrogation, Lane 
was taken to a small padded 
room, given a TV dinner, and 
locked in. Naked, he lay down 
on the padded floor and slept. 
Three hours later, two men 
woke him up and handed him 
his clothes and then conducted 
him to Smith’s office. 

“I don’t know what to do 
with you,” Smith said. “Ap- 
parently, you’re not lying. Or 
else you’ve been conditioned 
somehow to give the proper— or 
perhaps I should say, improper 
—responses and reactions. It’s 
possible, you know, to fool the 


47 

machines, what with all this 
conscious control of brain- 
waves, blood pressure, and so 
on being taught at universities 
and by private individuals.” 

“Yes, but you know that 1 
haven’t had any such training,” 
Lane said. “Your security 
checks show that.” 

Smith grunted and looked 
sour. 

“I can only conclude,” he 
said, “from the data that I have, 
that you are involved in 
counterespionage activity.” 

Lane opened his mouth to 
protest, but Smith continued, 
“Innocently, however. For 
some reason, you have become 
the object of interest, perhaps 
even concern, to some foreign 
outfit, probably Commie, most 
probably SKIZO, CACO’s worst 
enemy. Or else you are the 
focus of some wildly improb- 
able coincidences.” 

Lane couldn’t think of 
anything to say to that. Smith 
said, “You were released the 
first time because I got a phone 
call from a high authority, a 
very high authority, telling me 
to let you go. By telling, I mean 
ordering. No reasons given. 
That authority doesn’t have to 
give reasons. 

“But 1 made the routine 
checkback, and I found out 
that the authority was fake. 
Somebody had pretended to be 
him. And the code words and 
the voice were exactly right. S«>, 


48 

somehow, somebody, probably 
SKIZO, has cracked our code 
and can duplicate voices so 
exactly that even a voiceprint 
check can’t tell the difference 
between the fake and the 
genuine That’s scary, Lane.” 

Lane nodded to indicate that 
he agreed it was scary. He said, 
“Whoever is doing this must 
have a damn good reason to 
reveal that he knows all this 
stuff. Wliy would a foreign 
agent show such a good hand 
just to get me out of your 
clutches, uh, custody? I can’t 
do anyone, foreign agent or 
not, any good. And by revealing 
that they know the code words 
and can duplicate voices, they 
lose a lot. Now the code words 
will be changed, and the voices 
will be double-checked.” 

Smith drummed his fingers 
on the desktop and then said, 
“Yes, we know. But this 
extraordinary dermal sensitiv- 
ity. . .these automobile acci- 
dents. . .” 

“What did Lyons report 
about his accident?” 

“He was unaware of any- 
thing wrong until Daniels failed 
to slow down on approaching 
the stoplight. He hesitated to 
say anything, because Daniels 
did not like back-seat drivers, 
although Lyons was, as a matter 
of fact, in the front seat. 
Finally, he was unable to keep 
silent, but it was too late. 
Daniels looked up at the signal 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

and said, ‘What in hell -you 
talking about?’ and then the 
other car hit them.” 

Lane said, “Apparently Dan- 
iels thought the signal was 
green.” 

“Possibly. But I believe that 
there is some connection 
between the phone calls you 
got while with your women and 
the one I got from the supposed 
high authority.” 

“How could there be?” Lane 
said. “Why would this, this 
person, call me up just to ruin 
my love making?” 

Smith’s face was as smooth 
as the face on a painting, but 
his fingers drummed a tattoo of 
desperation. No wonder. A case 
which could not even give birth 
to a hypothesis, let alone a 
theory, was the ultimate in 
frustration. 

“I’m letting you go again, 
only this time you’ll be covered 
with my agents like the North 
Pole is with snow in January,” 
Smith said. 

Lane did not thank him. He 
took a taxi back to his 
apartment, again feeling the 
tingling and warmth and mildly 
erotic sensations on thewvay to 
the taxi and on the’ way out of 
it. 

In his rooms, he contemplat- 
ed his future. He was no longer 
drawing pay from CACO, and 
CACO would not permit him to 
go to work for anybody else 
until this case was cleared up. 


SKINBURN 

In fact, Smith did h'ot want him 
to leave his apartment unless it‘ 
was absolutely necessary / Lane 
w^ to. stay in it and force 'the 
unknown agency to corne to 
him. So how was he to support 
himself? He had enough money 
to pay the rent for another 
month and buy food for two 
weeks. Then he would be 
eligible for welfare. He could 
defy Smith and get a job at 
nondetective work, say, a 
carryout boy at a grocery store 
or a car salesman, He had 
experience in both fields. But 
times were bad, and jobs of any 
kind were scarce. 

Lane became angry. If 
CACO was keeping him from 
working, then it should be 
paying him. He phoned Smith, 
and, after a twelve-minute 
delay, during which Srnith was 
undoubtedly checking back 
that it was really Lane phoning, 
Smith answered. 

“I should pay you for doing 
nothing? How could I justify 
that on the budget I got?” 

“That’s your problem.” 

Lane looked up, because he 
had carried the phone under the 
skylight and his neck had 
started tingling. Whoever was 
observing him at this moment 
had to be doing it from the 
Parmenter Building. He called 
Smith back and, after a 
ten-minute delay, got him. 

“Whoever’s laying a tap-in 
beam on me is doing it from 


49 

any of the floors above the 
tehth. I' doh’’f think he could 
angle in from a lower floor.” 

■ “I know, ’ Smith said. “Hve 
had men in the Parmenter ; 
Building since yesterday. T 
don’t overlook anything 
Lane.” 

Lane ' had intended to ask 
him why he had overlooked the _ 
fact that they were undoubted 
ly being overheard at this 
moment. He did not do so 
because it struck him that 
Smith wanted their conversa- 
tions to be bugged. He was keen 
to appear overconfident so that 
SKIZO, or whoever it was, 
would move again. Lane was 
the cheese in the trap., However, 
anybody who threatened Lane ' 
seemed to get hurt or kiUed 
and Smith, from Lane’s view 
point, was threatening him* 

During the next four days, 
Lane read Volume IV of the 
Durants’ The Story Of Civiliza- 
tion, drank more than he 
should have, exercised, and 
spent a half hour each day, 
nude, under the skylight. The 
result of this exposure was that 
the skin burned and peeled all 
over his body. But the sexual 
titillation accompanying th e 
dermal heat made the pain' 
worth it. If the sensations got 
stronger each day, he’d be 
embarrassing himself, and poss- 
ibly his observers, within a 
week. 

He wondered if the men at 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


60 

the other end of the beam (or 
beams) had any idea of the 
gratuitous sexuality their sub- 
ject felt. They probably 
thought that he was just a 
homy man with horny 
thoughts. But he knew that his 
reaction was unique, a result of 
something peculiar in his 
metabolism or his pgiment or 
his whatever. Others, including 
Smith, had been under the 
skylight, and none had felt 
anything unusual. 

The men investigating the 
Parmenter Building had c|ptect- 
ed nothing suspicious beyond 
the fact that there was nothing 
suspicious. 

On the seventh day. Lane 
phoned Smith. “I can’t take 
this submarine existence any 
longer. And I have to get a job 
or starve. So, I’m leaving. If 
your storm troopers try to stop 
me, I’ll resist. And you can’t 
afford to have a big stink 
raised.” 

In the struggle that followed. 
Lane and the two CACO agents 
staggered into the area beneath 
the skylight. Lane went down, 
as he knew he would, but he 
felt that he had to make some 
resistance or lose his right to 
call himself a man. He stared up 
into the skylight while his 
hands were cuffed He was not 
surprised when the phone rang, 
though he could not have given 
a reasonable explanation of 
why he expected it. ^ 


A third agent, just entering, 
answered. He talked for a 
moment, then turned and said, 
“Smith says to let him go. And 
we’re to come on home. 
Something sure made him 
change his mind.” 

Lane started for the door 
after his handcuffs were un- 
locked. The phone rang again. 
The same man as before 
answered it. Then he shouted at 
Lane to stop, but Lane kept on 
going, only to be halted by two 
men stationed at the elevator. 

Lane’s phone was being 
monitored by CACO agents in 
the basement of the apartment 
building. They had called up to 
report that Smith had not given 
that order. In fact, no one had 
actually called in from outside 
the building. The caU had come 
from somewhere within the 
building. 

Smith showed up fifteen 
minutes later to conduct the 
search throughout the building. 
Two hours later, the agents 
were told to quit looking. 
Whoever had made that call 
imitating Smith’s voice and 
giving the new code words had 
managed, somehow, to get out 
of the building unobserved. 

“SKIZO, or whoever it is, 
must be using a machine to 
simulate my voice,” Smith said. 
“No human throat could do it 
well enough to match voice- 
prints.” 

Voices! 


SKINBURN 

Lane straightened up so 
swiftly that the men. on each 
side of him grabbed his arms. 

Doctor Sue Brackwell! 

Had he really talked to her 
that last time, or was someone 
imitating her voice, too? He 
could not guess why; the 
mysterious Whoever could be 
using her voice to advance 
whatever plans he had. Sue had 
said that she just wanted to talk 
for old time’s sake. Whoever 
was imitating her might have 
been trying to get something 
out of him, something that 
would be a clue to. . .to what? 
He just did not know. 

And it was possible that this 
Whoever had talked to Sue 
Brackwell, imitating his. Lane’s, 
voice. 

Lane did not want to get her 
into trouble, but he could not 
afford to leave any possible 
avenue of investigation closed. 
He spoke to Smith about it as 
they went down the elevator. 
Smith listened intently, but he 
only said, “We’ll see.” 

Glumly, Lane sat on the 
back seat between two men, 
also glum, as the car traveled 
through the streets of Washing- 
ton. He looked out the window 
and through the smog saw a 
billboard advertising a rerun of 
The Egg and I. A block later, he 
saw another billboard, advertis- 
ing a well-known brand of beer. 
“SKY-BLUE WATERS,” the 
sign said, and he wished he were 


51 

in the land of sky-blue waters, 
fishing and drinking beer. 

Again, he straightened up so 
swiftly that the two men 
grabbed him. 

“Take it easy,” he said. He 
slumped back down, and they 
removed their hands. The two 
advertisements had been a sort 
of free association test, provid- 
ed only because the car had 
driven down this route and not 
some other it might easily have 
taken. The result of the 
conjunction of the two bill- 
boards might or might not be 
validly linked up with the other 
circuits that had been forming 
in the unconscious part of his 
mind. But he now had a 
hypothesis. It could be devel- 
oped into a theory which could 
be tested against the facts. That 
is, it could be if he were given a 
chance to try it. 

Smith heard him out, but he 
had only one comment. 
“You’re thinking of the wildest 
things you can so you’ll throw 
us off the track.” 

“What track?” Lane said. He 
did not argue. He knew that 
Smith would go down the trail 
he had opened up. Smith could 
not afford to ignore anything, 
even the most farfetched of 
ideas. 

Lane spent a week in the 
padded cell. Once, Smith 
entered to talk to him. The 
conversation was brief. 

“I can’t find any evidence to 


FANTASY- AND SCIENCE FICTION 


52 

support your theory,” Smith 
said. 

“Is that because even CACO 
can’t get access to certain 
classified documents and proj- 
ects at Lackalas Astronautics?” 
Lane said. 

“Yeah. I was asked what my 
need to know was, and I 
couldn’t tell them what I really 
was trying to find out. The next 
thing I’d know. I’d be in a 
padded cell with regular ses- 
sions with a shrink.” 

“And so, because you’re 
afraid of asking questions that 
.night arouse suspicions of your 
sanity, you’ll let the matter 
irop?” 

“There’s no way of finding 
out if your crazy theory has 
any basis.” 

“Love will find a way,” Lane 
said. 

Smith snorted, spun around, 
and walked out. 

That was at 11 A.M. At 
12:03, Lane looked at his 
wristwatch (since he was no 
longer compelled to go naked) 
.and noted that lunch was late. 
A few minutes afterwards, an 
Air Force jet fighter on a 
routine flight over Washington 
suddenly dived down and hit 
CACO HQ at close to 1000 
mph. It struck the massive 
stone building at the end 
opposite Lane’s cell. Even so, it 
tore through the fortress-like 
outer walls and five rooms 
before stopping. 


Lane, in the second subfloor, 
would not have been hit if the 
wreck had traveled entirely 
through the building. However, 
flames began to sweep through, 
and guards unlocked his door 
and got him outside just in 
time. On orders transmitted via 
radio, his escorts put him into a 
car to take him across the city 
to another CACO base. Lane 
was stiff with shock, but he 
reacted quickly enough when 
the car started to go through a 
red light. He was down on the 
floor and braced when the car 
and the huge Diesel met. The 
others were not killed. They 
were not, however, in any 
condition to stop him. Ten 
minutes later, he was in his 
apartment. 

Doctor Sue Brackwell was 
waiting for him under the 
skylight. She had no clothes on; 
even her glasses were off. She 
looked very beautiful; it was 
not until much later that he 
remembered that she had never 
been beautiful or even passably 
pretty. He could not blame his 
shock for behaving the way he 
did, because the tingling and 
the warmth dissolved that. He 
became very alive, so much so 
that he loaned sufficient life to 
the thing that he pulled down 
to the floor. Somewhere in him 
existed the knowledge that 
“she” had prepared this for him 
and that no man might ever 
experience this certain event 


SKINBURN.',-, , : 

again. But the knowledge was 
so far, off that it influenced him 
not at all. 

Besides, as he had . told 
Smith, love would find a way. 
He was not the one who had 
fallen in love. Not at first. Now, 
he felt as if he were in. love, but 
many men, and women, feel 
that way during this time. 

Smith and four others broke 
into the apartment just in time 
to rescue Lane. He was lying on 
the floor and was as naked and 
red as a new-born baby. Smith 
yelled at him, but he seemed to 
be deaf. It was evident that he 
was galloping with all possible 
speed in a race between a 
third-degree burn and an 
orgasm. He obviously had a 
partner, but Smith could 
neither see nor hear her. 

The orgasm might have won 
if Smith had not thrown a big 
pan of cold water on Lane. 

Two days afterwards. Lane’s 
doctor permitted Smith to 
enter the hospital room to see 
his much-bandaged and some- 
what-sedated patient. Smith 
handed him a newspaper turned 
to page two. Lane read the 
article, which was short and all 
about EVE. EVE— Ever Vigilant 
Eye— had been a stationary- 
orbit surveillance satellite which 
had been sent up over the east 
coast two years ago. EVE had 
exploded for unknown reasons, 
and the accident was being 
investigated. 


5,3 

“That’s all the public was 
told,” Smith said. “I finally got 
through to Brackwell and the 
other bigwigs connected with 
EVE.: But either they , were 
under orders to tell me as little 
as possible or else they don’t 
have all the facts themselves. In 
any event, it’s more than just a 
coincidence that she — EVE, I 
mean— blew up just as we were 
taking you to the hospital.” 

Lane said, “I’ll answer some 
of your questions before you 
ask them. One, you couldn’t see 
the holograph because she 
must’ve turned it off just before 
you got in. I don’t know 
whether it was because she 
heard you coming or because 
she knew, somehow, that any 
more contact would kill me. Or 
maybe her alarms told her that 
she had better stop for her own 
good. But it would seem that 
she didn’t stop or else did try to 
stop but was too late. 

“I had a visitor who told me 
just enough about EVE so I 
wouldn’t let my curiosity carry 
me into dangerous areas after I 
got out of here. And it won’t. 
But I can tell you a few things 
and know it won’t get any 
further. 

“I’d figured out that Brack- 
well was. the master designer of 
the bioelectronics circuit of a 
spy satellite. I didn’t know that 
the satellite was called EVE or 
that she had the capability to 
beam in on 90,000 individuals 


54 ' 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


Simultaneously. Or that the 
beams enabled her to follow 
each visually and tap in on their 
speech vibrations. Or that she 
could activate phone circuits 
with a highly variable electro- 
magnetic field projected via the 
beam. 

“My visitor said that I was 
not, for an instant, to suppose 
that EVE had somehow at- 
tained self-consciousness. That 
would be impossible. But I 
wonder. 

“I also wonder if a female 
d e sign er-en gin eer-s dentist 
could, unconsciously, of course, 
design female circuits? Is there 
some psychic influence that 
goes along with the physical 
construction of computers and 
associated circuits? Can the 
whole be greater than the parts? 
Is there such a thing as a female 
gestalt in a machine?” 

“I don’t go for that 
metaphysical crap,” Smith said. 

“I^at does Brackwell say?” 

“She says that EVE was 
simply malfunctioning.” 

“Perhaps man is a malfunc- 
tioning ape,” Lane said. “But 
could Sue have built her passion 
for me into EVE? Or given EVE 
circuits which could evolve 
emotion? EVE had self-repair- 
ing capabilities, you know, and 
was part protein. I know it 
sounds crazy. But who, looking 
at the first ape-man, would have 
extrapolated Helen of Troy? 

“And why did she get hung 


up on me, one out of the 
90,000 she was watching? 1 had 
a dermal supersensitivity to the 
spy beam. Did this reaction 
somehow convey to EVE a 
feeling, or a sense, that we were 
in rapport? And did she then 
become jealous? It’s obvious 
that she modulated the beams 
she’d locked on Leona and 
Rhoda so that they saw green 
where the light was really red 
and did not see oncoming cars 
at all. 

“And she worked her modu- 
lated tricks on Daniels and that 
poor jet pilot, too.” 

“\^at about that holograph 
of Doctor Brackwell?” 

“EVE must’ve been spying 
on Sue, also, on her own 
creator, you might say. Or— and 
I don’t want you to look into 
this, because it won’t do any 
good now— Sue may have set all 
this up in the machinery, 
unknown to her colleagues. I 
don’t mean that she put in 
extra circuits. She couldn’t get 
away with that; they’d be 
detected immediately, and 
she’d have to explain them. But 
she could have put in circuits 
which had two purposes, the 
second of which was unknown 
to her colleagues. I don’t know. 

“But I do know that it was 
actually Sue Brackwell who 
called me that last time and not 
EVE. And I think that it was 
this call that put into EVE’s 
mind, if a machine can have a 


SKINBURN 


55 


mind in the human sense, to 
project the much -glamorized 
holograph of Sue. Unless, of 
course, my other theory is 
correct, and Sue herself was 
responsible for that.” 

Smith groaned and then said, 
“They’ll never believe me if I 
put all this in a report. For one 
thing, will they believe that it 
was only free association that 
enabled you to get eye in the 
sky from ‘The egg and I’ and 
‘Sky-blue waters’? I doubt it. 
They’ll think you had knowl- 
edge you shouldn’t have had 
and you’re concealing it with 
that incredible story. I wouldn’t 
want to be in your shoes. But 
then, I don’t want to be in my 
shoes. 

“But why did EVE blow up? 
Lackalas says that she could be 
exploded if a destruct button at 
control center was pressed. The 
button, however, was not 
pressed.” 

“You dragged me away just 
in time to save my life. But 
EVE must have melted some 
circuits. She died of frustra- 
tion— in a way, that is.” 

“What?” 

“She was putting out an 
enormous amount of energy for 
such a tight beam. She must 
have overloaded.” 

Smith guffawed and said, 
“She was getting a charge out 
of it, too? Come on!” 

Lane said, “Do you have any 
other explanation?” H 


ISAAC 

ASIMOV 

is one of the most successful and 
best-loved American authors. Al- 
ways popular, always read. 

WHY? 

ASIMOV ANALYZED 
by Neil Goble, $5.95. 

Also from Mirage Press , . . 

THE CONAN GRIMOIRE, 
articles and art on swordplay and 
sorcery by top authors and artists. 
Cloth, pp280, $6.95. 

A GUIDE TO MIDDLE-EARTH 
The ultimate reference work on 
J.R.R. Tolkien— dictionary, con- 
cordance, etc. Cloth, $6.95. 

PHANTOMS AND FANCIES, 
poems by L. Sprague deCamp, 
$5.00. 

H.G. WELLS: CRITIC OF 
PROGRESS 

by Jack Williamson, $5.95, 

THE REVISED H.P. LOVECRAFT 
BIBLIOGRAPHY, 
paper, $3.50. 

THE FANTASTIC ART OF 
CLARK ASHTON SMITH, intro, 
by Gahan Wilson, paner, $3.50. 

Free catalog and details on request 

THE MIRAGE PRESS 
Dept FF 

5111 LIBERTY HEIGHTS AVE. 
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND 21207 


I 


Sterling Lanier's British brigadier, 

Donald Ffellowes, has been a most welcome 

addition to these pages during the last 

several years, and the first seven 

stories in the series (ranging from 

"Soldier Key," August 1968 to ".His Coat 

So Gay," July 1970) have recently been 

collected and published by Walker & Co. 

under the titleTHE PECULIAR EXPLOITS OF 

BRIGADIER FFELLOWES. Here is a new one. Enjoy. 


And the Voice of 
the Turtle .... 

by STERLING E. LANIER 


WE HAD A SCIENTIST AT 
the club on this particular 
evening. One of the members 
had brought him as a guest, and 
he joined us after dinner in the 
library,- He was a museum 
biologist, from the American 
Museum of Natural History, I 
think, but it may have been the 
Smithsonian. He had a beard, 
but a neat one, and was 
civilized in all ways. I forget his 
name, but he was a reptile 
expert, a herpetologist, and he 
was one of those men who are 
not really happy unless wading 
in a tropical marsh somewhere, 


up to the neck in mud and 
malaria. He spoke with great 
enthusiasm of his last trip, to 
some appalling swamp in West 
Africa, where he had found out 
that the local crocodiles dug 
holes rather than building nest 
mounds, as did some close 
relatives elsewhere. I never fully 
grasped the exact importance of 
this discovery, but it obviously 
meant a lot to him. He told the 
story well, too, and could laugh 
at himself, over his difficulties 
with the local people, who 
thought all crocodiles ought to 
be killed ©n sight. They could 

56 


AND THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE 

never grasp what he was trying 
to do, that is, in simply 
watching them dig nests. A very 
interesting fellow, and the talk 
was only marred by Mason 
Williams commenting loudly 
“that it was a relief to hear 
from a real expert for a change 
and not have to listen to more 
of Ffellowes’ baloney!” 

Ffellowes, our British brig- 
adier (I sometimes think of him 
as the grenadier, but he always 
says his commission was in the 
artillery), was not in the room, 
at least at the beginning of the 
story, but I suddenly looked up 
and saw him standing outside 
the circle, smoking a cigar. He 
had just appeared, in that way 
he has, one minute absent, the 
next present. He said nothing, 
but listened quietly, until the 
visitor happened to get on the 
subject of turtles. Then, in the 
next break in the conversation, 
when Professor Jones, or 
whatever his name was, had 
finished a story about sea 
turtles mating, he asked, “Did 
you ever know a man named 
Strudwick? A specialist in your 
field, I believe.” (The name, by 
the way, was not anything like 
Strudwick, but some relative 
might read this account, and I 
have no desire to be sued for 
libel). 

Our visitor grew pretty 
excited. “I knew him very well; 
as a matter of fact, I did some 
of my graduate work under 


57 

him. A real genius, but a strange 
man. He vanished in the Pacific, 
I believe, some years back, 
though I forget the details.” 

“I knew him slightly,” said 
Ffellowes quietly. “And he was 
certainly strange.” He did not 
elaborate on his remarks, and 
Williams snorted audibly. 

Eventually whoever had 
brought the scientist took him 
away and a number of others 
left also. Williams, alas, was not 
one of them. He had grown to 
know Ffellowes well enough to 
scent a story as well as the rest 
of us regulars, and though he 
never tires of denouncing the 
brigadier’s tales as total fabrica- 
tions, he never missed one if he 
could manage to get into the 
circle. As usual, Ffellowes 
ignored him, or treated him 
rather with the scrupulous 
courtesy used for unusually 
aged and stupid waiters and 
doormen. Williams, I think, 
would have disliked him less if 
he had walked up and belted 
him with a straight left. But, 
Ffellowes being Ffellowes, this 
was impossible. 

Ffellowes smiled when we 
asked if there were a story 
concerning the missing scientist 
he had inquired about. 

“Indeed there is. I don’t 
mind telling it. But I warn you 
it is quite odd. There are a 
number of things about the 
whole thing that were, so to 
speak, left hanging, loose ends. 


58 

A very peculiar business, from 
beginning to end.” I settled 
back to listen with an audible, 
or almost audible, sigh of 
satisfaction, and I noticed 
others do the same. 

“I was on leave from a job in 
Singapore. Let’s see, that would 
have been in 1940. Things were 
on fire in Europe; London was 
burning night and day; the 
Jerries had France, the Low 
Countries, Norway and what 
all. I kept trying for active 
duty, and kept being shoved 
back into one odd job after 
another, like that thing in 
Kenya that I told you about.* 

“At any rate, I was due for a 
spot of leave, and it was 
decided by a rather intelligent 
superior of mine, that one 
could have some fun and still 
do some work. He knew I liked 
poking about in the world’s 
backwaters. 

“We were not too happy 
then about the situation in 
some of the Dutch islands 
below us. They had Java and 
Sumatra under firm political 
control all right, but we kept 
hearing about trouble in the 
smaller, less well-patrolled 
places, some of the old 
Somerset Maugham settings, 
you know. It was obvious that 
Brother Jap, whom I had 
already met in other areas, was 
only waiting for a chance to 

*His Only Safari (F & S P, February 
1970) 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

jump us, and we felt that our 
Dutch neighbors might be 
neglecting some of the classic 
soft underbelly. There were 
reported meetings of Bajau 
pirates, of whom plenty existed 
then, and probably still do, 
with dissident petty rajahs, 
Moro bandits from up in the 
Philippines and so on. Our 
intelligence people in north 
Borneo and Sarawak were 
getting edgy, feeling that there 
might be a widespread uprising 
at a time when we all needed to 
concentrate on a northern 
invasion. It seemed to want 
looking into. 

“When you consider,” he 
added, his smooth, ruddy face 
putting on a rueful appearance, 
“how badly we ourselves 
messed up the actual Jap 
invasion when it did come, it 
seems we were a bit silly to 
worry about this other and, as 
it turned out, minor matter. 
Still, I make no apologies for 
my mission. Hindsight makes 
things only too evident that are 
invisible at the time. Half or 
more of any given intelligence 
mission is ridiculous to begin 
with, becomes more so as it 
goes on and usually ends up 
totally irrelevant. Still, as I say, 
one never knows, not in 
advance. 

“The scheme we worked out 
was for me to hire a large prau, 
a native sailboat, in Sandakan, 
and then noodle down the 


AND THE VOICE -OF THE TURTLE •> 


islands on a poor .. man’s, 
yachting- cruise, picking , up 
what scraps I •, could &om 
natives, informers, . our .local 
agents '(mostly w:orthless, I may 
say, the latter), and generally 
trying to find out what was 
what. We .. briefed' our .Dutch 
opposite numbers, . and they . 
didn’t care for it;. but since their 
government and xjueen were 
now pensioners in : England, 
they had to agree, like it or not, 
and keep hands off, too. . 

“It was a lovely trip, if one 
doesn’t mind trading sunsets for 
bedbugs and the loveliest seas in 
the world for appalling grub. 
Bad Malay cooking is even 
worse than bad English' cook- 
ing, but fortunately in those 
days I had a stomach of proof 
steel.” 

“Who said there was any 
good English cooking,” mum- 
bled Williams, but he might as 
well not have spoken for all the . 
attention Ffellowes paid.. 

“We called at Manado, in the . 
north of Celebes, and then : 
.sailed on doWn through the 
Molucca Passage. In the middle ^ 
of the; Molucca Sea lie the Sula 
Islands, lovely places or were , 
then, quite unspoiled and full 
of white beaches, cdco : paints 
and pleasant , folk. I used to 
mourn them privately when the 
Jap fleet made the waters 
bloodTred later on. And it was 
there, from a most charrhing 
man, a self -exiled : Norwegian 


5a,. 

who.: had. settled as, a- trader,, 
years before; that I heard first • 
of Pulau Tuntong, the Islaiid qf 
the- Turtle, and also, incidently, , 
. otDr. and Mrs. :Strudwick. , 

“I shall not attempt to give 
you , my Norwegian .chum’s 
accent, but under it, he spoke 
fairly intelligible if ‘American’ 
English, as well as fluent 
Malay— Buginese, the local talk, 
into which he would . switch 
when seeking a hard w,»rd. 1 
used to -speak fairish Malay 
myself, so we got along welL 
enough. 

“ ‘That’s a funny place, Mr. 
Ffellowes. Only a few natives 
and they are not liked much 
either, sort of pmiahs, like they 
have up in. India. They seem to 
have always lived there, and the 
other peoples in these ; parts 
never i go there, . and they 
themselves, they never leave, . 
neither. But I can’t say, they 
ever give trouble, no killings or 
nothing. The Dutch Controleur 
here, he don’t never go. there, . 
and no ships: call, no . Chink 
traders ;eve.n,i and they go 
anywhere they .can for a profit, 
with them Old, beat-up junks. I 
never been there, but they say 
there ain’t no harm in the place. 
Anyone can. go there, if you see 
what I mean, but no one does. 
Except i for the American and 
his wife. They are; there right 
now, been there six months 
about. I forward their mail in 
my own boat once a month. 


60 

They’re some kind of scientists, 
studying turtles, they said. It’s 
supposed to be a great place for 
turtles. Guess that’s how it got 
its name. But the whole thing, 
by Joe, even looks like a turtle. 
One maybe three miles, long, 
that is half in the water, with 
only the point of the head 
sticking out, which is another 
little island, maybe a quarter 
mile from, shore, from the big 
one. 

“ ‘How far? Maybe thirty 
miles southeast, as the crow is 
flying from .here. Lots of bad 
reefs and no good anchorage. I 
wouldn’t like to be there in a 
storm, I tell you. The place is 
always foggy, too. All kinds of 
mineral sinks and steams and 
smokes, so it takes a good wind 
to give you a view of the whole 
thing. Must be a capped volcano 
or something. Lots of these 
islands are, but I never heard 
that this one blew or nothing. 
Just the steams and smokes all 
the time, like Yellowstone Park 
in the U. S., or some of our 
warm springs back in Norway. 
But it is a kind of place that 
makes you— well— discom- 
fortable. My boys don’t like to 
go there, never go ashbre, and 
they leave plenty quick, too.’ 

“He rambled on, but I got to 
wondering to myself. Who were 
these Americans and what were 
they doing there? The Dutch 
had said nothing of them to us, 
and this was odd. It may have 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

been that they had forgot, but 
they kept pretty careful ac- 
count of traveling Caucasians in 
their islarids. There weren’t so 
many then, you know. Up in 
Malaya, we had picked up 
several White Russians already, 
types who . were the most 
popular with the Japanese for 
work in areas where they 
themselves would be a stand- 
out. And there were one or two 
German agents in the Far East, 
too, men who had dropped out 
of sight at the beginning of the 
war in ’39. We would dearly 
have liked to know where they 
were and what they were doing. 
I had a radio on my prau, and I 
tried to reach Sandakan and get 
an enquiry passed to Washing- 
ton via London. But the 
damned thing was on the blink, 
as I have always found these 
devices to be when most 
wanted. There were the Dutch 
authorities in the Celebes of 
course, but I had been warned 
to avoid them except in a case 
of dire emergency, which this 
was not. What to do was a 
puzzle. 

“I finally decided to go have 
a look-see myself. Old Ali, my 
captain, was a Bugi himself and 
passably, familiar with these 
waters. As a matter of fact, he 
was a reformed pirate, caught 
by one of our gunboats robbing 
a trading junk up in the 
Anambas some years before. 
My chief had interviewed him. 


AND THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE 

got him a suspended sentence 
and set him up as a handy type, 
whenever we needed someone 
for just such an offbeat mission 
as my present one. His crew 
were his sons and cousins, a 
cheerful collection of sea 
thieves, got by wives from every 
race in Indonesia, I imagine, 
since some were dark and some 
light and all dressed differently. 
But they jumped when the old 
man said ‘frog,’ and he himself 
had always proved utterly 
trustworthy in his dealings with 
us. There were nine of them, as 
I recall, all hung about with 
krises, bolos, kampilans and all 
other known variety of edged 
weapon found thereabouts. I 
had a rifle and a Webley auto 
pistol below, and the crew had 
guns too, though I had them 
kept out of sight. This was 
quite normal, for we could very 
easily have met pirates, of 
whom, as I said, plenty were 
still known to be operating. 

“Ali waddled up when I 
called from my cabin the next 
morning, a short, rubbery old 
thing, with a Fu-Manchu 
mustache, stained red with 
betel nut, a bald head and an 
engaging black-stumped grin. 
But the grin vanished when I 
told him where I wanted to go. 

“ ‘I have never been there, 
Tuan. No one goes there. I 
know we look for bad men, 
men who would plot against the 
British and the Dutch. You will 


61 

never find such people there. It 
is a waste of time. Let us go 
further south.’ 

“He was talking the Malay 
lingua franca of the South Seas, 
which is used from the China 
Sea to the Australian coast. One 
can be quite elaborate in it, and 
he grew increasingly so, since it 
was obvious that he did not at 
all care for the proposed visit. 
Now this was a really case- 
hardened scoundrel, who had 
weathered a dozen typhoons in 
what amounted to skiffs, as 
well as a thousand other 
hair-curling experiences to 
boot. I grew intrigued as he 
persisted in trying to change my 
mind, because I couldn’t 
imagine what could scare him. 
And he was scared. 

“I finally announced that I 
was going to Pulau Tuntong, 
alone if necessary, and that if 
no one of sufficient courage 
would accompany me, I would 
rent a one-man boat and go by 
myself. As I thought, he had far 
too much pride to take that. I 
had been entrusted to him, and 
he said he would go, even if all 
the djins of Hell (he was some 
kind of casual Moslem) stood in 
the way. I got out our maps, 
and the two of us sat down over 
a bottle of horrible gutrot, 
some form of arrack he liked, 
to work out a course. I already 
had interviewed the natives who 
took the mail, and got what 
they could teU me about the 


62 

trip, and between us, we figured 
it out. The place might have 
been thirty miles as the crow 
flies, but it was nearer double 
that if you didn’t want to get 
wrecked. We were coming from 
the north, and we had to land 
on the south shore of the 
island, which meant a long 
detour to avoid the very 
complex reefs. We decided to 
leave at first light; no place at 
all for running at night. After a 
while the spirit, as I had hoped, 
got to him, and he began to 
recall what he had heard from 
his grandmother or someone of 
that vintage about the Island of 
the Turtle. It was all very vague. 

“There was a curse on the 
place, that was clear. It had, the 
curse, I mean, something to do 
with the turtles themselves, 
who swarmed there. When I 
asked if he meant the sea 
turtles, he said it did, but there 
were many turtles on land, too. 
This confused me for a 
moment, since, as you may or 
may not know, in England 
everything not a large sea turtle 
is called, confusingly, a tortoise, 
even if it lives in fresh water. I 
have since learnt that the rest of 
the world uses that term for the 
ones that live exclusively on 
land. When I got this sorted 
out, I continued to pump him, 
but got little more that made 
any kind of sense. The people 
of the island were under the 
curse too, but only if they left 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION ' 

the island; Then they died. 
They had a turtle as a deity, 
avoided strangers, and though 
harmless in themselves, were 
considered unlucky and good to 
avoid. Mariners who were 
ship-wrecked there simply never 
turned up again. Even the 
toughest Bajau and sea Dayak 
pirates never went near the 
place and hadn’t for as long as 
tradition went back. 

“Well, he finally reeled out, 
his sarong or whatever dragging 
on the deck, and I turned in 
with my own thoughts. I had 
hoped to carry some mail to the 
alleged scientists, but my Norse 
friend had sent some off only 
the week before. An evening 
with a steam kettle might have 
told me something. 

“Our trip down was unevent- 
ful and we raised the anchorage 
we were seeking in the evening. 

I must say the place was not 
cheerful looking. A low cliff 
overgrown with scrub seemed 
to stretch around the whole 
island. It was hard to make out 
details, because the fogs and 
steams that my chum had 
mentioned did indeed blanket 
the landscape. Against the 
sunset it was a sort of 
whaleback of a thing, as one 
could make out when the rifts 
appeared in the mist, perhaps 
five or six hundred feet high at 
the top of the curve. There 
were patches of dense vegeta- 
tion and patches of bald rock. 


AND THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE 


63 


the latter gleaming wetly. Once 
in a while, lighter areas showed, 
which looked like sand. We 
could see no beach, but I 
remembered hearing that there 
was a long one on the north 
coast, which is where the great 
sea turtles came to lay their 
eggs. 

“But we had found the 
correct place all right. There 
was a cluster of lights, perhaps 
fifty or so, in front of us and 
quite near to the water, and 
higher up, and further to the 
east, one small clump, in what 
appeared to be a sort of shallow 
dip or declivity. The Americans 
were said to have built a real 
house, which sounded curious, 
but not wildly so, above the 
village, and this must be its 
lights. It could be nothing else, 
since we had been told that the 
entire population of the place 
normally lived in this one 
village, which lay before us. 

“Night fell with the sudden- 
ness of the tropics, and the 
lights became hard to see, since 
there was no wind once the 
land breeze had fallen and the 
fogs from the fumaroles (as I 
guessed) shrouded the island in 
a blanket. I decided, with the 
hearty approval of the crew, to 
lie to until morning, and go 
ashore only when we could see 
our way pretty clearly. 

“I was sleeping soundly, my 
leg over the long bolster known 
as a ‘Dutch wife,’ waking only 


to slap a mosquito which had 
penetrated my net, when I 
became conscious of a sound. I 
can, to this day, think of 
nothing that quite matches it, 
but the bellow of an alligator in 
a Florida swamp is somewhat 
the same. This was not so 
throaty nor so long lasting, 
however. A sustained, almost 
agonized grunt is not too far 
off, but in the deep note there 
was a treble as well, causing a 
most unpleasant wailing effect. 
I have seldom heard a noise for 
which I cared less. I looked at 
my wristlet watch and it was 3 
PM. The noise ceased suddenly, 
and there was nothing more but 
the slap of tiny waves on the 
hull of the prau. 

“There was a scratching at 
the sliding panel on my cabin, 
which served as a door. I 
opened it and found Ali holding 
a torch, a flashlight, you’d say, 
a small one with his hand over 
the lens. 

“ ‘You heard that, Tuan?’ 

“ ‘Yes. What do you think? 
A crocodile?’ 

“ ‘Never! I have heard them 
all my life. I do not know this 
noise, nor my people either. We 
are frightened. Let us leave this 
place!’ 

“Well, I managed to send 
him off after a while, feeling a 
bit better, by pointing out that 
it was, after all, only an odd 
noise, perhaps even a night bird 
with which he was unfamiliar. I 


64 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


told him to set two of his crew 
as an anchor watch, and have 
them relieved every few hours. 
We would see what morning 
would bring. 

“Morning brought no breeze, 
a humid stickiness, the dim sun 
shining through fog wraiths and 
a distinct smell of sulfur, the 
latter obviously emanating from 
the island. 

“We launched our small 
boat, and with Ali at the helm 
and me in the sterm, pistol 
under jacket, we rowed in to 
the place opposite the anchor- 
age, where the village houses, 
thatched with the usual nipa 
palms, dimly could be seen. 
There was a low place in the 
cliff there, and we soon saw a 
well-marked path leading down 
to a place where one could step 
out of the boat onto a sort of 
rock platform. A small group of 
natives were standing on this 
waiting for us. 

“As we drew in, I looked 
closely at them. They were, to 
my eye at least, innocuous. 
They all wore the wraparound 
skirt, though not with the usual 
bright colors, and seemed in no 
way very different physically to 
any of a thousand other 
Indo-Malayan types I had seen. 
That is, they were short, 
slightly built, had black hair, 
brown skins and slanted black 
eyes. They were all male, and 
all unarmed, not even the 
usually omnipresent kris being 


tucked in the skirt top. The 
only thing about them which 
might be called unusual was a 
sort of stoop-shouldered ap- 
pearance, as if they all suffered 
from the beginnings of a 
hunchback condition. And one 
other thing, an air of apathy 
and disinterest. Most places that 
see few visitors are very eager to 
greet new arrivals. But these 
chaps looked as if we were as 
interesting as— well, a coconut 
rind. They stood silently while 
we moored the boat on a rock 
projection, and only when I got 
out did one step forward and 
address me, in ordinary coast 
Malay, the same I used with the 
crew. 

“‘Be welcome, Tuan.' He 
said it listlessly, as if by rote, or 
performing a set task, of no 
interest or importance. He was 
obviously the oldest, for he had 
the worst stoop, but his 
thinning hair was still jet black, 
and he had no facial hair. Up 
close he and the others had 
another thing that was new to 
me. Their skins looked glossy in 
a strange way, almost as if they 
were a rigid and not a flexible 
covering, though they moved in 
the same way as ours and one 
could see the muscles. Some 
disease, I thought, seemingly a 
fungus condition. Perhaps they 
were inbred. 

“I answered politely and 
asked if one of them could 
show me to the house of the 


AND THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE 

other Tuan and his Mem. They 
looked blankly at one another, 
but the elder simply motioned 
me to follow and turned on his 
heel. No one of them looked at 
my men in the boat, but I did. 
They, even Ali, were not even 
trying to pretend they weren’t 
frightened. They all looked 
seasick. I told them to go back 
to the ship and pick me up 
around five o’clock that after- 
noon. I didn’t see how the 
Americans could refuse to give 
me lunch at least. 

“We walked slowly up 
through the humidity of the 
steams and vapors, which made 
me cough a bit. The sulfur stink 
was very strong now. The path 
went through the village, laid 
out in a simple row of big 
communal houses on stilts, like 
lots of others I had seen; and 
then I got* my first surprise, I 
almost stepped on a lot of little 
turtles which were waddling 
about on the path, right at the 
village entrance. I had to skip a 
bit to avoid them, and I noticed 
that my guide did so auto- 
matically. The little things paid 
us no attention at all, and most 
small turtles I have seen are 
very shy, rush away or into 
water at the glimpse of a man, 
you know. A few women and 
men (I saw no children) 
watched apathetically as we 
went by in line, the rest of the 
lads who had come down to the 
landing still bringing up the 


65 

rear. It was a peculiar sensation, 
this utter lack of any interest at 
all. Never seen anything like it 
before or since. 

“The fog grew denser on the 
upslope on the far side of the 
village, but the path was easy 
enough to make out as one 
went uphill. In places, it was 
actually dark, as big trees and 
vines leaned over it, and totally 
windless and dank as well. I 
heard no birds, no insects, 
nothing at all but my own and 
the others’ footsteps and water 
dripping somewhere. Then, in 
the darkest patch we had hit 
yet, fog all around, came that 
Godawful sound I had heard 
the night before. The island 
men all stopped, and so did I, 
fumbling for my gun, I may 
say, because the sound was very 
close and very loud. 

“ ‘Muaah, muaah, mu- 
aaaaah!’ it came, like a colossal 
and very sick cow, or perhaps a 
diseased foghorn. Nasty! 

“The men didn’t seem afraid 
exactly, but I could feel them 
tense up, the first show of any 
feeling of any sort I had 
noticed. The noise stopped, and 
they promptly resumed their 
march, me along with them. In 
a few moments more, the path 
opened into a large clearing, 
and we had arrived. 

“The mists were thinner 
here, and the glow of the sun 
could be seen in a blurred way 
through them. In front of us 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


66 

was a rather large hopse, made 
of peeled logs, like a hupter’s 
lodge father' although thfi roof 
was thatched in the island way. 
It too stood on stilts, of thin 
logs, right agaihst a shoulder pf 
thp hill itself, and had a wide 
veranda riin'ning around the 
front and one side, up to which 
broad wooden steps had been 
laid. It looked quite pretty, or 
would have save for the 
unearthly surroundings. There 
were large pits of what looked 
to be brown wet sand all about, 
some with a scum of water on 
the surfkce, and the •warmiih 
was now almost sickening, like 
an overdone greenhouse. The 
path wound to the steps 
between several of these pits 
and seemed to be on a spine of 
rock. And all about were 
turtles. 

“They were, of different 
shapes hnd sorts, large and 
small, some black, some brown, 
some yellowish. One or two had 
red markings on their shells. 
Some had blunt heads, others 
pointed, and one great whack- 
ing chap had a leather platter 
instead of a real shell, one of 
the so-called ‘soft shells,’ as I 
later learnt. 

“To my surprise, the fellows 
who had brought me faced 
about and without a word 
turned and marched back down 
the path again, leaving me to 
the turtles and the fog. I 
quickly headed for the house 


before I , heard that most 
decidedly sick-ihaking noise 
again, 

“I had gone perhaps halfway 
alpng the path, treading slowly 
to avoid the turtles f; which 
crawled freely over it and of 
which the littlest were hard to 
see, when suddenly I heard 
steps. A white man in khakis 
pame out of the door onto the 
veranda and stood looking 
down at me. You’ll never guess 
what his first words were. 

‘For God’s sake! What ape 
you doing here, Ffellowes?’ 

“Now, the name of Strud- 
wick, while not as common as 
Smith, is not unknown in 
England. It simply had never 
occurred to me to recall this lad 
at all. He had been a Rhodes 
Scholar when I was doing my 
two years at Cambridge, in ’21 
that would be. An American 
aind a brilliant student, he had 
lived down the hall from me for 
two terms, and we had got 
rather friendly. We had never 
written when he had left, and I 
had completely forgotten he 
had ever existed. And here he 
was, pumping my hand warmlyi 
in the most isolated island in 
Australasia. Life is a funny 
thing. 

“ ‘Hallo, Strudwick,’ I said; 
preserving my British phlegm as 
best I could. ‘As a matter of 
fact, old boy,: I’ve come to see 
you, more or less to find out 
what you Ye doing here. Pleast 


AND THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE 

ant surprise, eh, or I hope so 
anyway.’ 

“He was no fool. He looked 
at me shrewdly and laughed. 
‘Mysterious Americans attract 
the attention of His Majesty’s 
Government, hm? Well, I’m 
glad to see you, though I don’t 
encourage visitors. Haven’t had 
any, as a matter of fact. But I 
thought the Dutch looked after 
this part of the world?’ 

“I lied, though only a bit, 
and said they had called us in, 
being short-handed, and that 
seemed to go down all right. He 
wasn’t really much interested 
anyway, though he did seem 
excited about something. By 
this time we were in the house, 
which was really very comfoi’t- 
able. All the furniture was 
obviously handmade and to 
European specs. I gathei'ed he 
must have had everything made 
locally, but it was good work, 
and there were flowers in bowls 
and kerosene lamps on the 
tables. He even gave me an iced 
drink; had his own portable 
generator, and that was a treat. 

“We filled each other in on 
the missing years for a bit, and 
then he started suddenly to 
talk. 

“ ‘Let me tell you why I’m 
here,’ he said, as quickly as 
that. ‘You may have forgotten I 
took a ‘zoo’ First (I had, of 
course). Well, I’m a reptile 
specialist. This tiny island is the 
home of the damnedest collec- 


67 

tion of turtles that ever existed 
in the world. I’ve done more 
original work here in six 
months than I ever did in the 
rest of my life. You can’t 
follow all this, I know, but it's 
fantastic, and I know this field 
as well as anyone alive. Why 
there are types here that don't 
belong in any family, genus or 
species any scientist has ever 
seen before!’ 

“He went on like a brook in 
spate, while I relaxed with my 
drink and tried to follow him as 
well as I could. It seemed that 
turtles, tortoises and all the 
other things, like terrapins, 
were pretty well mapped out. 
No new ones had been found in 
years, and very few save the sea 
turtles, of course, went much to 
the east of Java, Sumatra and 
Borneo; that is, until one struck 
New Guinea. There was a lot 
about Wallace’s line, sort of a 
zoological barrier, I gathered, 
and what did and did not cross 
it, all mixed up in the lecture. 
Then came a flood of Latin 
names, mostly meaningless to 
anyone but another expert, like 
the lad who was here at the 
club earlier. New types of 
Emydura, not supposed to be 
here at all; a kind of 
Geochelone no one had seen 
anywhere; something that look- 
ed like a cross between 
Chelodina, or a type of it, and 
an unknown Gcomyda variety, 
which was flatly impossible. 


68 

but — occurred here. And so on, 
until I was frankly bewildered. 

“But there was one thing 
which kept my attention pretty 
well fixed through all this. I just 
was not hearing the whole 
story. One cannot do the work 
I had done and not pick this 
sort of thing up, you know. It 
was, my work, I mean, in many 
ways, not dissimilar to police 
work, and I must have 
interrogated hundreds of clever 
types at one time or another. 
Strudwick was not lying; his 
enthusiasm was genuine all 
right; that’s very hard to fake. 
But he was keeping something 
back. I could read it in his 
body, in his rare sidelong 
glance. Something was not for 
ne to learn. 

“Now I had no idea that the 
chap was a spy. I could have 
aeen wrong, but it was simply 
lot in the cards, as I read the 
man. But he had a secret and I 
wondered what it was. A very 
casual remark put me onto 
something. 

“He paused for breath, and I 
had mentioned the hordes of 
turtles and how tame they had 
seemed. He smiled and was 
about to speak when I added, 

“ ‘And I hope whatever 
makes that disgusting sound out 
m the forest is equally tame. 
Gave me the grue, when I heard 
it, even out on the boat.’ 

“He caught his breath and 
turned pale. He was a big 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

fellow, bigger than 1, clean- 
shaven and with a goodish tan. 
Now he went almost green. 

“ ‘You heard that?’ His 
question was almost a whisper. 
It was echoed from the back of 
the room. I totally forgot he 
had a wife with him, and now 
she came in from the back, still 
muttering. 

“Ethel Strudwick was big, 
too. She was not pretty, a faded 
blonde with hair stringy from 
the damp and a hard eye. She 
was also moderately drunk, and 
this at about ten in the 
morning. She wore the same 
khakis, shirt and ‘ratting pants,’ 
as we used to call them, and 
canvas shoes that he did. Her 
make-up had run. Not a very 
attractive sight. 

“He mumbled an introduc- 
tion, and I tried to be polite, 
but she could not stop staring 
at me and seemed to hear 
nothing of what he said, as he 
tried haltingly to explain who I 
was and what I was doing there. 
Not a pleasant woman, in looks 
or manners, but I felt very sorry 
for her. Because she was 
terrified. It was obvious, when 
one watched her for a minute 
or two. Something or someone 
had scared the living Hell out of 
her, and my former hall mate 
was equally jumpy, though 
controlling it far better. She sat 
down in a bamboo chair, and I 
tried to pick up the conversa- 
tion at the point whence it had 


AND THE VOICE OP THE TURTLE 

departed from the rails, so to 
speak. 

“ ‘Well, Strudwick, before 
your wife came in, I mentioned 
that strange cry in the forest. I 
heard it last night, and it put 
the wind up my crew pretty 
thoroughly. What on earth was 
it?’ 

“ ‘A bird— We don’t know— 
Why did we ever come to this 
awful place?— Just a bird!’ They 
were both speaking together, he 
repeating his nonsense about a 
bird, she lamenting their arrival 
and stay, neither paying the 
slightest attention to the other. 
It was unsettling to watch and 
listen to. 

“ ‘Look here!’ I said loudly. 
‘May I stay the night? I have to 
run over your papers and all 
that. This is an official visit, 
don’t JJ^ou know. Could I get 
my things from the boat? It 
would be a pleasant break for 
me.’ I could think of no place I 
wanted to stay less, but I was 
intrigued, and they were ob- 
viously in some kind of trouble. 

“Mrs. Strudwick was de- 
lighted and practically kissed 
me. He was not nearly so 
pleased, in fact not pleased at 
all, but there was little he could 
say. 

“There seemed to be no 
servants, and Strudwick walked 
me down through the forest to 
the landing himself. We heard 
nothing on the way. The 
villagers were moving slowly 


69 

and droopily about as wf 
passed through their street^ and 
we saw small and large turtles 
the whole journey, though none 
so many as just about the house 
itself. My host explained that 
he had heard rumors about the 
island for years and had only 
just been able to get the funds 
and time to come there. The 
locals were obliging enough to 
work quite hard in building the 
house and furniture and had 
accepted the money he gave 
them without haggling. What 
they did with it, he had no idea. 
They had no pigs or fowls, save 
for a . few gone wild in the 
jungle which covered much of 
the place, and no traders called. 
They grew rice, he thought, or 
some crop in fields beyond the 
village and fished in a desultory 
way when the mood took them. 
They refused to live in or near 
the house, but were perfectly 
amiable, if not forthgoing. He 
had never been able to get them 
to talk about turtles or 
anything else, for that matter. 
They provided him fruit and 
coconuts, as well as rice and 
even fish on occasion,, and did 
not seem to care whether they 
got paid or not. 

“I mentioned the odd look 
they all had, the rigid-looking 
skin and the humped backs, and 
suggested that some obscure 
form of elephantiasis, added tc 
prolonged inbreeding might be 
responsible. 


70 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


“ ‘I believe you’ve hit it. I’m 
no anthropologist, but I’ll bet 
that’s exactly what’s wrong 
with them.’ 

“His agreement sounded 
totally hollow to me, and I have 
a good ear for this. I was sure of 
one thing, though it made no 
sense, which was that he had 
some other theory of his own, 
concerning which he wished me 
to remain ignorant. ‘Curiouser 
and curiouser,’ I reflected to 
myself. 

“When we got to the 
landing, the prau was in plain 
view, the fog being mostly 
burned off at sea level, and the 
small boat came in when I 
'hailed. I went out, got my gear 
and a change of clothes, and we 
walked back up through the 
miasmatic heat to the house on 
the hill. I told Ali to keep a 
strict watch on the landing 
place and to come in at once if 
he saw or heard me, or if I 
signaled with my pocket torch 
during the night. He agreed 
promptly, and I thought I could 
rely on him, so long as he 
hadn’t got to come ashore 
himself. 

“Back in the building, Mrs. 
Strudwick had taken some 
pains to make up her face and 
no longer looked so bedraggled 
and miserable. She would never 
be lovely, but she at least 
looked decent, and she seemed 
to have sobered up as well. I 
learnt later that she was very 


wealthy and that they had not 
been married long. It must have 
been her money which allowed 
Strudwick to make this out-of- 
the-way trip. 

“He brought out all his 
letters to officials for me to 
glance over, and he came 
well-recommended and was, as I 
had surmised, more than 
respectable from the scientific 
standpoint. He had three 
doctorates, I recall, one being 
from Yale, and all sorts of 
‘please aid the bearer’ notes, 
signed by everyone from the 
American Undersecretary of 
State down. I solemnly made 
notes of it all. 

“After lunch, which was 
mostly expensive tinned stuff 
they had brought with them, 
plus a little fruit and a lot of 
gin, I asked Strudwick^why he 
had selected the particular site 
that he had for the house. 

“ ‘The turtles, man, the 
turtles. There are more of them 
right here than anywhere else 
on the island. These hot springs 
or seeps seem to attract them, 
and you soon get used to the 
sulfur smell.” 

“ 'You do!’ The venom in 
his wife’s voice was naked. 
‘Why can’t we get out of here? 
You’ve seen every damned 
turtle and its bloody grand- 
mother that ever was! Why are 
we staying here any longer?’ 
Her voice rose to a strident 
pitch that was almost a scream. 


AND THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE 

“ ‘Look, honey, it won’t be 
much longer. I’ve told you that. 
I need to get just a little more 
information.’ His tone was 
soothing, but I caught a nasty 
glint in his eye. Whatever was 
keeping them here, it was 
important to him, and he did 
not propose to have it 
interfered with. 

“ ‘Information! On what 
prowls around this house on 
dark nights! I’m going crazy—’ 
She got up and stumbled out of 
the room and disappeared in 
back somewhere, getting a 
drink, I expect. Her last 
sentence, unfinished, hung in 
the steamy air of the room. 

“I saw Strudwick looking at 
me in a speculative way and felt 
bound to make some remark. 

“ ‘What was that about 
something prowling around at 
night? Your wife seems to have 
a bad case of the jitters. Is it 
wise to stay here under the 
circumstances?’ 

“He took a long swallow of 
gin before answering, gathering 
his thoughts to sound convinc- 
ing, it appeared. 

“ ‘There is something here I 
haven’t worked out yet, Ffel- 
lowes. If it’s what I think, well, 
it will be one of the great 
zoological finds of the age. Hell, 
of any age! I can’t give you the 
details. First, it’s none of your 
business. Second, you’d think I 
was nuts. Christ Almighty, I 
think I am nuts, sometimes. 


71 

Just bear with us, will you? 
Ethel isn’t used to the tropics 
or my burying myself in my 
work either. The natives walk 
about at night, and this makes 
her nervous, though they’re 
perfectly harmless.’ It was then 
he told me the story of their 
recent marriage and mentioned 
that his wife had been both rich 
and sheltered. 

“I retired to the room they 
had given me for a nap, but I 
found it hard to sleep. I was 
turning restlessly, when I 
caught the sound of voices, not 
too far away. I pricked up my 
ears not only because they were 
talking Malay, but because one 
voice was Strudwick ’s deep- 
chested rumble. I slid off the 
rattan couch and out of my 
window. I felt no compunction 
about eavesdropping. I had no 
great affection for my host, and 
I had commenced to have a 
great curiosity about whatever 
he was doing. I soon found he 
had told me a thumping lie in 
one area at least. 

“Behind some dense under- 
growth at the corner of the 
house he was talking to the 
strange-looking villager, the old 
one who had led me up to the 
house that morning. I caught 
only a snatch of conversation 
before the native turned and 
walked away, but it was an 
intriguing item. 

“ ‘It must be soon, or we 
will find another, one of our 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


72 

own. But the Father likes 
yours. But it must be ?oon.’ 

“‘It will be soon!’ Strud- 
wick’s answer was , low yet 
intense. ‘But this new Tuan has 
changed things. He must go, 
first.’ 

, “ ‘It must be soon,’ was the 
dull-toned answer.’ ‘The strange 
Tuan is your business, not ours. 
What do we care for Tuans? Or 
the Father, either? Give him to 
the Father. But he grows 
impatient. They jail do. They 
call. ’ 

“•With that remark, the man 
left, drifting away between the 
steaming muck holes until he 
had vanished from sight around 
a comer of the slope. 

“I eeled back into my room, 
taking care to make no noise. 
So the locals never spoke about 
anything, eh? And who was the 
Father and what was he waiting 
for and why was I supposed to 
leave, or possibly be ‘given’ to 
him, whoever he was? With all 
these things chasing themselves 
through my head, I finally did 
drift off into an uneasy doze. 
But my hand gripped my pistol 
under the pillow. The Island of 
the Turtle seemed to have 
sinister overtones all of a 
sudden. 

“Supper, or rather tiffin, 
that evening was strained. 
Strudwick was very silent, and I 
caught him more than once 
looking at me in an unpleasant 
and calculating way. He seemed 


to be suppressing an air of 
intense excitement. His wife 
again was two-thirds blotto, and 
at intervals would rouse herself 
to relate some incoherent tale 
of her past, usually involving a 
dance at Bar Harbor or a 
society scandal of her dead 
youth in some -exclusive enclave 
in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, I 
think. The whole thing was 
both depressing and eerie. I 
excused myself as soon as I 
decently could and retired. But 
I did not undress, and I never 
had my hand far from the gun. 
A little nocturnal prowling on 
my own account seemed to be 
more than called for. 

“The light, such as there was 
under the sulfurous vapors of 
the place, became suddenly 
absent. Tropic sunsets didn’t 
last long, but here there was a 
dim light one moment, nothing 
the next. I frankly preferred it 
to the smoky haze of the day, 
and I can get about in full dark 
as well as most so-called savage 
people that I have met. In 
addition to my gun, I had. a 
4-inch, single-bladed, clasp 
knife, a tool I have often found 
to be more useful in the dark 
than any firearm. 

“I went out through my 
open window again. I could 
hear nothing in the night but 
water drip and the sound of a 
faraway frog croaking. I placed 
my feet carefully, whole foot at 
a time, testing wherever I set 


73 


■VND THE VOICE OF THE E 

down before placing my full 
weight on the foot. I had my 
torch, but I kept it in my 
pocket for emergencies. The 
pallid ghost of a full moon 
appeared up over the fogs and 
reeks, and I found I could see 
quite well, if I concentrated. 
Eyes need training to see in dim 
light, and I had had more than 
just a trifle, since it is a sense I 
cultivate. 

“Around the front of the 
house I moved, and even with 
care, I almost trod on a small 
turtle more than once. They 
appeared to be even thicker on 
the ground than at the morning 
hours, and after a while, I could 
hear them moving in the silence 
as my ears also grew attuned, 
the scrape of tiny claws on the 
rock path and an occasional 
squelch as they moved into one 
of the damper areas. 

“Nothing happened to stir 
my interest for a very long 
time. I ignored the mosquitoes, 
which is also a trick and a 
necessary one, if one is to do 
any proper stalking. I just kept 
moving slowly about, resting 
under a tree at intervals, then 
going on again. The house was 
silent. There were no lights, and 
I gathered my host and hostess 
were abed. She had taken on 
enough gin to keep her 
insensible until morning. 

“Once I heard a vast, 
heaving, sucking noise over to 
the far side of the clearing, as if 


a hippo were lurching out of 
some mud, but it soon ceased. I 
felt sure it was an internal gas 
bubble in one of the warm 
springs, erupting to the surface 
and throwing the sand about. I 
have seen the same thing in 
New Zealand, where such mud 
geysers are common. 

“I must have been spooking 
around for several hours, with 
no incident of any kind, when 
the quiet came to an abrupt 
end. The house was still silent, 
and I had reached the lower end 
of the clearing in front of it, 
near the base of the path, when 
I heard a woman scream. The 
cry was short in length, and I 
felt sure it had been smothered. 
There was only one woman on 
this hill, and without thinking, I 
drew my gun from my belt and 
ran straight for where I knew 
the house to lie, though it was 
invisible through the mist. 

“Now I had forgot those 
stinking pools of sand and 
water, and simply ran dead 
ahead in a straight line. I had 
cleared only a few yards when 
my right foot went smack into 
one and myself after it in a 
spiral curve, head over heels. 
But I kept hold of the gun, 
which, by the way, was heavily 
oiled and was loaded with 
greased cartridges. My other 
arm flailed about and hooked 
on something hard, the edge of 
the rock path. I was immersed, 
for the sand was in suspension, 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


74 

'ike quicksand, and seemed to 
lave no bottom, but I had a 
good grip and began to haul 
nyself out. There was no pull 
such as one finds in genuine 
quicksand, and I was soon 
halfway to the solid ground 
with only my legs from the 
knee down in the muck. 

“Then — my ankles were seiz- 
ed. There was no mistaking the 
feeling. Something warm, mus- 
cular and very powerful had 
iwo death grips on my legs and 
was exerting a steady pressure 
o drag me back down into that 
slop from which I had almost 
succeeded in freeing myself! I 
swear that not only was I being 
gripped but that I could feel 
fingers!" 

We all sat silent, while 
Ffellowes took a long pull on 
his cigar. In passing, I noticed 
that Williams had his mouth 
open and was just as enthralled 
:is the rest of us. 

“I froze, but only for a 
;econd,” resumed Ffellowes. 
‘My first reaction was to try 
ind get up, in other words a 
oanicked one, simply to keep 
truggling out the same way I 
lad been pulling. My waist was 
well up on the solid rock, and I 
dropped the gun and used both 
rands to try and haul myself 
orward on my stomach. But it 
vas no go. Whatever had me 
was at least as strong as I and 
iTom the feel probably stronger. 


I couldn’t move an inch, and 
the pressure to haul, that is to 
haul me back down, never 
slackened an inch. Then I got 
the use of my brain back, and 
tried to twist, so that I was now 
on my side. This got me a little 
ground, though not much, and I 
tried it again,' gaining a few 
more inches. Now I could see 
the pool, or rather I could see 
my legs, sunk in something. The 
fog was so dense that the pool’s 
surface was invisible. I never 
thought of yelling, you know. 
Something told me it would be 
useless, and so the silent 
struggle continued. 

“By now, I was almost 
sitting, and I shifted my right 
hand to get a better grip. It was 
only a few inches, but it was 
almost the death of me. 
^^hatever had hold of my legs 
also pulled at just this point, 
and the yank almost took me 
the whole way back in! 

“But it also saved me. I 
scrabbled wildly with my right 
hand seeking a stronger hold, 
and the hand came down on my 
pistol. As a wave of sand and 
water eddied up around my 
middle, spilled out of the sink 
by my struggle, I wrenched 
myself around further, thrust 
the barrel down as close to my 
leg as I could, while still 
keeping it clear of the water, 
mind you, and fired. I kept 
firing as fast as I could squeeze 
the trigger. 


75 


AND THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE 

“The thing must have come 
up near the surface tb get a. 
better grip bn me. TTiere was a 
great final- heave and a flurry in 
the muck. I dimly could make 
out something brownish and 
rounded emerging briefly from 
the watery slime and ooze, but 
it was hard enough to see any 
detail. I could be sure of 
nothing except that I had seen 
something. Then, the stuff 
subsided, and I was left with a 
half empty gun, sprawled over 
the edge of the pool. The 
surface Was calm again under 
the mist and vapor. 

“I had not forgot that 
scream. I staggered to my feet 
and got out my torch. With that 
in one hand and the gun in the 
other, I headed for the house as 
fast as I could. With the light of 
the torch, the path was easy 
enough to view, and I carefully 
avoided the other pools. I made 
no effort to avoid the turtles, 
for there were none. For some 
reason they all had disappeared. 

“I lurched up the front step, 
calling for Strudwick. There 
was no answer and the house 
was silent as a tomb. I tried to 
control my panting breath and 
listened. Not a sound broke the 
night. I took the opportunity to 
reload the automatic with fresh 
.455 bullets. They had been 
useful once that night already. 

“Barely had this been done 
when I did hear something. 
From the higher shoulder of the 


slope, behind the house and 
above it, there came a repeti- 
tion of that appalling cry I had 
heard twice before. Loud and 
long, it rang but in the silent, 
steaming dark. ‘Muaah, iriu- 
aaah!’ But this time it sounded 
—well, different, with almost a 
note of triumph, or impossible 
as it sounds— laughter. 

“I raced through the house, 
no longer calling. The time for 
it seemed” past, if it had ever 
existed, There was a back door 
and leading from it another 
path. It suddenly occurred 
to me that the house had been 
built on the existing path. My 
light showed that in the mud of 
the path were many footprints, 
some of feet shod with canvas 
tennis shoes, the rubber cross- 
hatching showing clearly. My 
host and hostess had come this 
way, bu,t so had others, many 
with bare feet. ' Another path 
joined this one a few yards 
higher up the hill, and there the 
new feet had come in. Some of 
them, even in that moment, 
looked strange, as if the feet 
that made them wete blurred 
and lurnpy. Not that I stayed to 
examine them in detail, mind. 
For that strange cry was ringing 
out ahead of me again, and I 
went on upward, keeping my 
torch masked in my left fist, 
which gave me enough Vision. 
The moon was still up as well, 
and 4;he mists were a trifle 
thinner up here. 


76 

‘‘Thfe ttack Wouiid around 
the base ’buttresses ' and out- 
thrust roots of monstrous' trefes, 
and ' vines ' and branches' hUng 
over the way' ' sometimes 
brushing niy face. 'But I had my' 
wind back and went steadily 
and softlyi And' all the while 
that ghastly sound kept echoing 
down the path, growing louder 
and louder as I went on. 

“I must have done a good 
quarter mile, all steadily uphill, 
when I saw a glimmer of light 
ahead aiid slowed down a bit. 
As I drew near, I saw that 
another clearing lay ahead and 
that it opened out under the 
moon’s rays. I crept on .and 
presently found myself looking 
at something very strange 
indeed. 

“Two steep sides of the 
island’s peak made an angle 
here, though a shallow one. 
They, the walls, were rock but 
covered with mosses' and wet 
growth that hung down over 
the face. In front of the angled 
steep, in the Y, was a broad, 
flat place, and here was a much 
larger replica of the small pools 
such as lay in front of the house 
below, a sinkhole two hundred 
feet, across, filled with the same 
dark water . and patches of 
suspended sand as the ones 
lower down. Around the wet 
area was a strip of glistening 
rock, this perhaps ten -yards and 
a bit in width. And it was full 
of people. The islanders- were 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

there in fotce, both men and 
women. Agairi, ^ I ' sa-w , nb 

* children. They stood silent, 

* facing the pobl; arid in -the ' 
center, his back tb iriej was 
Strudwick. He -was supporting ' 
his wife over one arm. She 
appeared to have fainted, of 
was, at best, semiconscious. ' 

“Now the light, and I must ' 
stress this, was most capricious. 
That is, the moon would 
illumine bits very clearly for a 
second or two, and then the 
drift of the fog and haze from ' 
the great pool would blot things ' 
out just as one was trying to 
concentrate one’s gaze oh some 
particular detail. 

“But at the back of the 
crowd there were figures Which 
made my flesh crawl. 'Whatever ; 
disease affected these people, 
the ones in the last stages, or at 
leasf'f' surmised, were not good ' 
to look upon. I could see long 
swaying necks, covered with 
leathery skin, and high, arched 
humped backs which looked 
rounded and hard. The terminal 
stages of the peculiar island ; 
blight ought not to have been 
viewed at all, not by normal 
people. All of the folk, though, 
were swaying the same way, 
their bodies still, but their ' 
necks weaving, as if in some 
ghastly parody of those little 
girls who do the formal Thai 
and Javanese dances And all 
were watching StrudwiCk and 
hfs wife 


AND THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE 


77 


“Then came that terrible 
coughing, moaning cry again. 
And this time 1 saw, or at least 
partly saw, whatever made it. 

“I had not been watching 
the pool as I edged closer, since 
I was looking for possible 
danger, being noticed by a 
native or something. Now I saw 
that the surface, the floating 
sand and brown scum were 
moving. And out of the water 
had come a head. 

“To this day, I have trouble 
convincing myself I saw what I 
think I saw. As the head rose 
higher on a monstrous, rugose 
neck. I half noticed the 
beginning of a great rounded 
dome of a back, glistening and 
rigid in the unearthly moon 
glow. But it was on the head 
which I concentrated, because 
it was moving, the whole 
incredible thing was moving, 
slowly with hardly a ripple, 
directly toward where Dr. 
Sylvanus Strudwick, Ph.D., 
author of more learned papers 
than I can remember hearing, 
stood holding his wife. And I 
knew what it had come for, as 
if I somehow had known all 
along. This was the Father and 
Ethel Strudwick was what it 
wanted. 

“You may ask what the head 
resembled. It was high-domed 
and leathery. Great flaps, or 
ears, stood out on the side. The 
pmfemouth was frankly disgust- 
ing as it opened out for its 


hideous call, for it projected 
and there were no teeth, giving 
it the look of a great beaked 
maw. The eyes, as well as I 
could make out, were large and 
bulbous, of an unwinking black. 
And as 1 watched, I saw 
membranes slide across them 
and lift again. Yet the most 
awful thing concerning the 
whole appearance, if I may so 
describe it, was something not 
physical at all. The thing was 
intelligent. Whatever abysmal 
lair had spawned it had given it 
the same germ,, DNA or 
whatever they call it now, that 
had been given us. It was not a 
beast, but somehow a hyena 
would have looked clean by 
comparison. Its size? Far larger 
than a human, but how much I 
really could not undertake to 
say. 

“It was now very close to 
the edge of the rock surface. 
And Strudwick had shifted his 
grip on his wife. What madness 
affected the man, I will never 
know. Whether he hated her 
anyway, no doubt with some 
cause, or whether he had simply 
made some foul bargain in the 
interest of ‘pure science’ (I have 
always distrusted scientists 
most when they claim to be 
pure, by the way), I will never 
know. Certainly she feared him 
and his purposes. With good 
reason, since it was perfectly 
obvious he was about to chuck 
her into the grip of the 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


78 

insane-looking form of mon- 
strous life in front of him. 

“I had to do something and 
rather promptly. I tucked my 
torch in my pocket, opened my 
clasp knife, walked down to the 
pack in front of me and simply 
stabbed the nearest in the back, . 
aiming high for the kidneys as a 
certain Pathan had once taught 
me, long before our com- 
mandos perfected the tech- 
nique. I managed to kill three in 
three strokes, so hypnotized 
were they, and then there was 
no one at all between me and 
my fellow Cantabrigian. 

“I had kept my pistol in my 
left hand. As I got clear of the 
natives, none of whom seemed 
capable of moving, I simply 
called out, ‘Strudwick.’ 

“He turned and let his wife 
slip to the ground, which was 
what I had been praying for. 
Above and behind him, the 
impossible head rose higher on 
the vast wrinkled neck, and the 
great expressionless eyes fo- 
cused on me. I ignored it for 
the moment. Everything seem- 
ed very plain and logical. There 
really was no time for parleying 
or argument. 

“Strudwick must have read 
my eyes, for he tried to put up 
his hands. The moon was full 
on his face as I put a bullet 
through his brain, quite easy at 
that range. He reeled backward 
and fell into the muck with a 
sodden splash. The echo of the 


shot reverberated off the rock 
face behind the pool. I had no 
compunction about what I had 
done and still do not. 

“The Father was now about 
six feet away and perhaps eight 
above the surface of the pool. I 
straddled Ethel Strudwick’s 
body, which lay very still, and 
raised my pistol. As I did so, 
the thing’s mouth opened and a 
rumble heralded the start of the 
cry. I sighted very carefully and 
fired three rapid shots into the 
yawning pink gape, resting one 
arm on the other forearm as I 
did. 

“I watched the death, for 
my bullets had crashed up into 
the brain through the roof of 
the mouth, just as I intended. 
And as the light went out of 
those strange eyes and the giant 
head slumped, I felt a queer 
pang— well, no doubt you’ll 
think me soft— almost of pity. 
Who knows how old it was, nor 
how long it had lived there? 

“The great neck collapsed 
and the vast dome sank back. A 
wave of sulfurous water and 
sand sloshed over my shoes as I 
bent and lifted the woman. I 
still had four shots, and I still 
clung to the knife. I turned and 
saw the beginnings of move- 
ment in that circle of rapt faces. 
They could not yet believe 
what they had seen, but the 
death of the Father and the 
blast of the shots were 
beginning to have an effect. 


AND THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE 

even on such very dim and 
peculiar minds as theirs. 

“Then, and thank God for it, 
the moon went out. Whether a 
real cloud way up in the far sky 
had crossed it or whether an 
unusually heavy waft of the 
local murk had done so, I 
neither know nor care. The 
effect was all I cared for. 

“Lifting Mrs. Strudwick, 
who was damned heavy, I ran 
right back the way I had come. 
In thirty very fast paces indeed, 
I felt a tree bole in front of me 
and dropped her. I tucked the 
knife in my belt, still open, and 
pulled out my torch. Then I 
bent down and gave her face a 
good hard slap. I was never 
going to get down that hill 
carrying a woman who must 
have weighed little less than I, 
and I had to get her on her legs. 
I jammed the gun into my belt 
next to the knife and hauled 
her to her feet. She moaned, 
but her eyes were open. I 
slapped her again, hard enough 
to sting, but not disable, and 
draped her arm over my 
shoulder. I could hear move- 
ment behind us now, and a 
grunting, cracking sound that 
reminded me more of the 
Father’s voice than anything 
that ought to issue from human 
lips. The opposition could not 
be expected to stay quiescent 
forever. 

“I shone the torch about, 
and there was the entrance to 


79 

the path, just a few feet away. I 
ran toward it, forcing her to use 
her feet at least a touch and 
thus take some of the weight 
off me. My light was still the 
only one, but as we entered the 
trail and headed down, the 
moon came out again. The 
mumbling behind us now 
swelled into a yell, through 
which ominous grunts came all 
too clearly. I got a speedy 
notion that the village ‘elders,’ 
the gentry with the high backs 
and long necks, might not be 
too slow in action either. 

“Down that slippery, twist- 
ing track we went like a couple 
of good ones. After a brief 
spurt she seemed to wake up at 
last and took her arm away. She 
was still shaky, not surprisingly, 
but she got along at a pretty 
fair clip, and I handed her the 
light at the next bend. She kept 
it on the path, which was good 
enough for me and enabled me 
to get my gun back in my hand. 
The cries behind us were getting 
louder, and some of them 
sounded like echoes of the 
‘Muaah’ thing. Worse, though I 
said nothing, I thought at one 
point that I caught an echo of 
the same cry ahead of us. I had 
hoped the whole population 
would be up on the hill, 
indulging in what passed for 
church services, but it might be 
a mistaken hope. Well, 1 still 
had my weapons. 

“Suddenly, sooner than I 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


80 

had hoped, the house was 
before us. We tore into it, 
through the open back door, 
and into the dark living room. 
Here I caught her by the arm. 
The hue and cry was a bit 
further back now, and I had an 
idea. I have mentioned that 
there were kerosene lamps 
about on the tables. 

“I struck a match and 
grabbed one, which looked full. 
I lighted it and quickly looked 
for more. ‘Kerosene,’ I gasped, 
‘pour it about as fast as you 
cah.’ 

“She got the idea finally and 
began sloshing the lamp con- 
tents over the room as fast as I. 
I smashed the one lighted lamp 
into the biggest pile of papers I 
could see, some of her late 
husband’s unpublished discover- 
ies, I expect, and serve him 
right. The house was full of 
bamboo stuff, and even in this 
damp climate that would bum. 
Also, the house itself was only 
wet on the outside and had had 
time to dry out a lot since the 
months in which it had first 
been built. The room went up 
like a bonfire behind us, and I 
shoved her out the front door 
and onto the veranda. With any 
luck, this blaze should delay 
our pursuers for a moment, and 
that might be enough. At the 
very least, they would have to 
take the other track around, the 
one that came in higher up the 
hill. 


“We had got halfway across 
the path which ran between the 
sinkpools when I saw we were 
going to need all the luck we 
could get. All the islanders were 
not behind us. Clearly visible in 
the light from the burning 
house behind us, there now 
stood one of what I shall call 
for want of a better word, the 
‘elders.’ He was waiting for us 
on a narrow place between two 
of the boggy patches, and his 
whole attitude was more than 
plain. As we caught sight of 
him, I pushed Mrs. S. behind 
me. 

“The creature, for it hardly 
looked human any longer, 
stood, crooked arms outstretch- 
ed, his eyes glittering in the 
light. His visible skin was 
cracked and leathery, almost 
lij^e dun-colored scales, and the 
neck was obscenely long and 
twisting. He was hairless, and 
his ears had shmnk or rotted to 
mere stubs, while the shining 
dome of his back rose far up 
behind his shoulders. It seemed 
to me also that the feet and 
fingers had nails of extraor- 
dinary length and sharpness, 
but I may have been mistaken 
in this. He was quite nude, not 
even the island wraparound, 
and his whole body looked 
damp in the firelight. As I 
advanced slowly, the mouth 
opened, and I saw that the 
disease had caused him to lose 
his teeth as well. There was an 


AND THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE 


uncanny resemblance to the 
monster I had dealt with up on 
the higher reaches. No doubt 
why they called the thing the 
‘Father.’ No doubt. 

“At ten paces, I fired. I shot 
steadily, and I could see the 
awful body shake from the 
impact of the heavy bullets. But 
though it stdggered, it still came 
on. I shot carefully, for the 
midbody, not trying out any- 
thing fancy. The blank dark 
eyes never changed expression, 
though that toothless mouth 
opened and closed. 

“Behind me, I could hear 
Mrs. Strudwick whimpering. 
Couldn’t say I blamed her. 

“At the fourth, and last, 
shot, I dropped the gun, pulled 
out my knife and waited. 
Incredible though it may sound, 
the man, or perhaps what had 
once been a man, lurched on 
and closed with me. The fetid 
breath of that ghastly mouth 
came into mine, as I drove the 
knife home again and again, 
meeting a queer resistance, as if 
the skin were actually a sort of 
armor or something similar. 

“But it was dying. There was 
no strength to its grapple, only 
a kind of post-mortem will, as if 
the big nerve centers were 
actuating the body even after 
the brain had died. I hurled it 
aside, and it slid into the 
nearest muck pool, much as its 
giant forerunner had a few 
minutes earlier. 


“We could hear the cry c ; 
the pack behind us somewhen . 
even over the roaring of th ■ 
flames from the house. This w; • 
now totally ablaze and sendir. . 
sparks over the landscape. 
Curiously, the only physic^ 
harm I got on the who! • 
happening (unless you count i 
possible something I’ll get 1 > 
later! came from one of thes* . 
which caught, unnoticed, in m / 
shirt back and gave me a nasi 
burn. 

“Again we ran downhill, thi ; 
time through the village, which. 
I am happy to say, was 
deserted. I was perfectly pre- 
pared to swim out to the prau. 
if necessary, towing my lade- 
friend in my wake. The peril o r" 
sharks never entered my head, 
not after what we had just beet? 
through, and I feel certain sh ' 
felt the same way. 

“But it was not necessary. 
The shots and the blaze had go 
to old Ali, and though I am not 
sure he actually would have 
come ashore, he had fought 
down his fears and at leai :• 
bully-damned some of his cre'v. 
of family thugs to bring th ; 
small boat in to the landir.,: 
place. There they were, arme 1 
to the teeth, and looking ha : 
petrified with fright. No mor.; 
unsavory lot ever looked better 
to me. After the good folk of 
Pulau Tuntong, a squad t f 
Waffen SS would have looked 
reassuring. 


82 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


“Well, that was that. We got 
out to the ship, upanchored and 
were gone, despite night, reefs 
and all, in less than twenty 
minutes. By the time dawn 
came, Pulau Tuntong was not 
even in sight. I was barely able 
to note this fact, because I was 
burning up with a curious fever. 
Mrs. Strudwick was not only 
feverish, but totally uncon- 
scious in my cabin, shock no 
doubt playing some part in the 
matter. 

“We made port in the Sulas 
next day and my old Norwegian 
trader behaved like a saint. He 
took us in and nursed us both 
tenderly, as weU as a woman 
could, that hard-handed old 
swab. I was well enough to 
leave in a couple of days, but 
Mrs. Strudwick was a very sick 
woman. The old man promised 
to see that she was shipped to 
the Celebes in his own vessel, 
and turned over to the Dutch 
authorities, for transfer even- 
tually to the States. Looking at 
her, I was not sure she would 
make it, since she was out of 
her head half the time and 
raving senselessly. I told the old 
man that she and her husband 
had provoked a native uprising, 
which in a certain sense you’ll 
agree was true. I also told him 
to stop sending any boat 
whatever to Pulau Tuntong, 
since the people there were far 
better utterly avoided. I would 
file my own (discreetly edited) 


report with the Dutch. He i 
agreed, and told me that though 
he had tried to find native 
women to help nurse us, none 
would do so, not when they ■ 
had heard whence we came. He 
had done wonders, and I sent 
him a fattish check when I got , 
back to Singapore, along with a 
gold watch I thought he might 
fancy. I know he got it because 
he wrote. Mrs. Strudwick had 
been shipped out also, and I 
never heard of her again. 

“Now, before you fellows 
bombard me with questions, let 
me try to make a few things 
plain. First, I have never gone 
back there or checked up on 
the place, nor even bothered. I 
had too many other things on 
my mind until 1945. Never 
since met anyone who knew the 
area well enough to put a 
sensible question to, either. If 
anyone, either Jap or Allied 
ever landed there, I never heard 
of it. You are all welcome to 
inquire if you care to. 

“As to what I ran into, in all 
its implications, I warned you, 
in the beginning, it was full of 
loose ends and unanswered 
questions. Most of the major 
things in life are, I find. But I 
have one thought that I will 
share, or rather some related 
thoughts. 

“In 1940, beyond knowing 
vaguely that Madame Curie had 
died of radium poisoning, while 
doing experiments, the word 


AND THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE 

“radioactivity’ meant literally 
nothing to me. Am I clear? 
Hiroshima, of course, changed 
all that. My current thought is 
this: the whole island, and 
especially around those seeps 
and sulfur springs, could, I 
think, have been rich in 
uranium or some such article. I 
say ‘could,’ since I know 
nothing of these matters, 
beyond what one reads in the 
tabloids. 

“So, consider a possibility, 
nothing more. Consider an 
inbred, isolated fragment of 
humanity, constantly soaked in 
this stuff. Would it eventually 
not cause a mutation among 
those who survived and man- 
aged to breed? I don’t know, 
nor I expect will anyone else, at 
least for a long time. Only a 
thought, mind you, and not 
clear in my own mind. But the 
turtles, now, according to 
Strudwick, who may have been 
loathsome morally, but was at 
least a good scientist— the 
turtles were an extraordinarily 
odd mix, all sorts or strange 
breeds on one tiny island, to 
use his words. Another matter 
is my strange fever, not like 
Ijialaria at all. And I lost a lot of 
hair, though it later grew back. 


8 .? 

Radioactivity? It gives one to 
think. 

“Thus we come to the village 
‘elders.’ They looked awful, but 
may, just may have been on the 
road to something new, a new 
breed, if a most unpleasing one 
to our eyes. Remember, I saw 
no children. Could the race 
have been dying out? Again, I 
have no idea, no real answers. 

“And finally, I suppose you 
want my ideas on the creature 
they called the ‘Father.’ My 
first thought, and one I clung to 
for a longish while, was simply 
that it was an enormous, 
deformed and very aged turtle, 
changed perhaps by the radioac- 
tive bath in which it had soaked 
and indeed may have done so 
for ages, for all that I know.” 

He paused, then rose and 
stood behind his chair, staring 
blankly at the mantelpiece. 

Then he turned to leave, but 
his voice floated back as he 
went. “There are, naturally, 
many other possibilities. The 
eyes, you know, were utterly 
human in their expression. 
Many other possibilities.” We 
heard his feet on the stairs. 

For once in his life, Mason 
Williams had nothing to say, 
not a word. It was an occasion. 



In which Mr. Fast invents one Julius 
i iepplemeyer, who invents a device that 
jends space, which. . . Read on; it's 
^11 good fun. Howard Fast's most 
!3CentbookisTHE hessian (Morrow). 

» 

The Hoop 

by HOWARD FAST 


iM ONE OF THOSE CHARM- 
;ng expressions of candor— 
vhich were to become so well 
'.nown to the television aud- 
snce— Dr. Hepplemeyer as- 
c ribed his scientific success less 
lo his brilliance than to his 
rame. “Can you imagine being 
■'ulius Hepplemeyer, and facing 
i hat for the rest of your life? If 
one is Julius Hepplemeyer, one 
i; forced either to transcend it 
or perish.” 

Two Nobel Prizes before he 
finally perfected the hoop 
; ttested to the transendence. In 
acknowledging them, he made 
liberal use of what the press 
came to call “Hepplemeyer 
Jewels,” as for instance: “Wis- 
dom obligates a man to perform 
; >olishly.” “Education imposes 
a search for ignorance.” “The 
• olution always calls for the 
; roblem.” 

This last was particularly 
: pplicable to the hoop. It was 

84 


never Dr. Hepplemeyer’s inten- 
tion to bend space, and he 
pinned down the notion as 
presumptuous. “Only God 
bends space,” he emphasized. 
“Man can only watch, observe, 
seek— and sometimes find.” 

“Do you believe in God?” a 
reporter asked eagerly. 

“In an ironic God, yes. The 
proof is laughter. A smUe is the 
only expression of eternity.” 

He talked that way without 
any particular effort, and acute 
observers realized it was be- 
cause he thought that way. His 
wife was an acute observer, and 
one morning at breakfast, as he 
cracked a three-minute egg and 
peered into it, he specified that 
everything returns to itself. 

It rather chilled his wife, 
without her knowing why. 
“Even God?” she asked. 

“Most certainly God,” he 
replied, and for the next two 
years he worked on the hoop. 


THE HOOP 

The Dean at Columbia cooper- 
ated with him, cutting down his 
lectures to one a week. Every 
facility was placed at his 
disposal; after all, it was the 
Hepplemeyer age; Einstein was 
dead, and Hepplemeyer had to 
remind his admirers that while 
“Hepplemeyer’s Law of Re- 
turn” had perhaps opened new 
doors in physics, it nevertheless 
rested solidly upon the basis of 
Einstein’s work. Yet his modest 
reminders fell upon deaf ears, 
and whereas The New York 
Times weekly magazine supple- 
ment once ran no less than six 
features a year on some aspect 
of Einstein’s work, they now 
reduced the number to three 
and devoted no less than seven 
features in as many months to 
Hepplemeyer, Isaac Asimov, 
that persistent unraveler of the 
mysteries of science, devoted 
six thousand words toward a 
popular explanation of the 
“Law of Return,” and if few 
understood, it was nevertheless 
table conversation for many 
thousands of intrigued readers. 
Nor were any egos bruised, for 
Asimov himself estimated that 
only a dozen people in the 
entire world actually under- 
stood the Hepplemeyer equa- 
tions. 

Hepplemeyer, meanwhile, 
was so absorbed in his work 
that he ceased even to read 
about himself. The lights in his 
laboratory burned all night long 


while, with the assistance of his 
eager young assistants— more 
disciples than paid workers— he 
translated his mathematics into 
a hoop of shining aluminum, 
the pipe six inches in diameter, 
the hoop itself a circle of the 
six-inch aluminum pipe twelve 
feet in diameter; and within the 
six-inch pipe, an intricate coil 
of gossamer wires. As he told 
his students, he was in effect 
building a net in which he 
would perhaps trap a tiny curl 
of the endless convolutions of 
space. 

Of course, he immediately 
denied his images. “We are so 
limited,” He explained. “The 
universe is filled with endless 
wonders for which we have no 
name, no words, no concepts. 
The hoop? That is different. 
The hoop is an object, as 
anyone can see.” 

There came a fine, sunny, 
shining spring day in April, 
when the hoop was finally 
finished and when the professor 
and his student assistants bore 
it triumphantly put onto the 
campus. It took eight stalwart 
young men to carry the great 
hoop, and eight more to carry 
the iron frame in which it 
would rest. The press was there, 
television, about four thousand 
students, about four hundred 
cops and various other repre- 
sentatives of the normal and 
abnormal life of New York 
City. The Columbia University 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


86 

quadrangle was indeed so 
crowded that the police had to 
clear a path for the hoop. 
Hepplemeyer begged them to 
keep the crowd back, since it 
might be dangerous; and as he 
hated violence almost as much 
as he detested stupidity, he 
begged the students not to get 
into the kind of rumble that 
was almost inevitable when 
cops and students were too 
many and in too great 
proximity. 

One of the policemen lent 
the professor a bullhorn, and he 
declared, in booming electronic 
tones, “This is only a test. It is 
almost impossible that it should 
work. I have calculated that out 
of any given hundred acres, 
possibly a hundred square feet 
will be receptive. So you see 
how great the odds are against 
us. You must give us room. You 
must let us move about.” 

The students were not only 
loose and good-natured and full 
of grass and other congenial 
substances on that shining April 
day; they also adored Hepple- 
meyer as a sort of Bob Dylan of 
the scientific world. So they 
cooperated, and finally the 
professor found a spot that 
suited him, and the hoop was 
set up. 

Hepplemeyer observed it 
thoughtfully for a moment, and 
then began going through his 
pockets for an object. He found 
a large gray eraser and tossed it 


into the hoop. It passed 
through and fell to the ground 
on the other side. 

The student body— as well as 
the working press— had no idea 
of what was supposed to 
happen to the eraser, but the 
crestfallen expression on Hep- 
plemeyer’s face demonstrated 
that whatever was supposed to 
happen had not happened. The 
students broke into sympa- 
thetic and supportive applause, 
and Hepplemeyer, warming to 
their love, took them into his 
confidence and said into the 
bullhorn: 

“We try again, no?” 

The sixteen stalwart young 
men lifted hoop and frame and 
carried their burden to another 
part of the quadrangle. The 
crowd followed with the 
respect and appreciation of a 
championship golf audience, 
and the television camera 
ground away. Once again, the 
professor repeated his experi- 
ment, this time tossing an old 
pipe through the hoop. As with 
the eraser, the pipe fell to earth 
on the other side of the hoop. 

“So we try again,” he 
confided into the bullhorn. 
“Maybe we never find it. Maybe 
the whole thing is for nothing. 
Once science was a predictable 
mechanical handmaiden. To- 
day, two and two add up 
maybe to infinity. Anyway, it 
was a comfortable old pipe and 
I am glad I have it back.” 


THE HOOP 


87 


By now, it had become 
evident to most of the 
onlookers that whatever was 
cast into the hoop was not 
intended to emerge from the 
other side, and were it anyone 
but Hepplemeyer doing the 
casting, the crowd, cameras, 
newsmen, cops and all, would 
have dispersed in disgust. But it 
was Hepplemyer, and instead of 
dispersing in disgust, their 
enchantment with the project 
simply increased. 

Another place in the quad- 
rangle was chosen, and the 
hoop was set up. This time. Dr. 
Hepplemeyer selected from his 
pocket a fountain pen, given to 
him by the Academy, and 
inscribed “nil desperandum.” 
Perhaps with full consciousness 
of the inscription, he flung the 
pen through the hoop, and 
instead of falling to the ground 
on the other side of the hoop, it 
disappeared. Just like that— just 
so— it disappeared. 

A great silence for a long 
moment or two, and then one 
of Hepplemeyer’s assistants, 
young Peabody, took the 
screwdriver, which he had used 
to help set up the hoop, and 
flung it through the hoop. It 
disappeared. Young Brumberg 
followed suit with his hammer. 
It disappeared. Wrench. Clamp. 
Pliers. All disappeared. 

The demonstration was suffi- 
cient. A great shout of applause 
and triumph went up from 


M orningside Heights and 
echoed and reechoed from 
Broadway to St. ' Nicholas 
Avenue, and then the contagion 
set in. A coed began it by 
sailing her copy of the poetry 
of e.e. Cummings through the 
hoop. It disappeared. Then 
enough books to stock a small 
library. They all disappeared. 
Then shoes— a veritable rain of 
shoes— then belts, sweaters, 
shirts, anything and everything 
that was at hand was flung 
through the hoop and anything 
and everything that was flung 
through the hoop disappeared. 

Vainly did Professor Hepple- 
meyer attempt to halt the 
stream of objects through the 
hoop; even his bullhorn could 
not be heard above the shouts 
and laughter of the delighted 
students, who now had wit- 
nessed the collapse of basic 
reality along with all the other 
verities and virtues that previ- 
ous generations had observed. 
Vainly did Professor Hepple- 
meyer warn them. 

And then, out of the crowd 
and into history, raced Ernest 
Silverman, high jumper and 
honor student and citizen of 
Philadelphia. 

In all the exuberance and 
thoughtlessness of youth, he 
flung himself through the 
hoop— and disappeared. And in 
a twinkling, the laughter, the 
shouts, the exuberance turned 
into a cold, dismal silence. Like 


88 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


the children who followed the 
pied piper, Ernest Silverman 
was gone with all the fancies, 
and hopes; the sun clouded 
over, and a chill wind blew. 

A few bold kids wanted to 
follow, but Hepplemeyer barred 
their way and warned them 
back, pleading through the 
bullhorn for them to realize the 
danger involved. As for Silver- 
man, Hepplemeyer could only 
repeat what he told the police, 
after the hoop had been roped 
off, placed under a twenty-four 
hour guard, and forbidden to 
everyone. 

“But where is he?” summed 
up the questions. 

“I don’t know,” summed up 
the answer. 

The questions and answers 
were the same at Centre Street 
as at the local precinct, but 
such was the position of 
Hepplemeyer that the commis- 
sioner himself took him into his 
private office— it was midnight 
by then— and asked him gently, 
pleadingly: 

“What is on the other side of 
that hoop, professor?” 

“I don’t know.” 

“So you say— so you have 
said. You made the hoop.” 

“We build dynamos. Do we 
know how they work? We make 
electricity. Do we know what it 
is?” 

“Do we?” 

“No, we do not.” 

“Which is all well and good. 


Silverman’s parents are here 
from Philadelphia, and they’ve 
brought a Philadelphia lawyer 
with them and maybe sixteen 
Philadelphia reporters, and they 
all want to know where the kid 
is to the tune of God knows 
how many lawsuits and injunc- 
tions.” 

Hepplemeyer sighed. “I also 
want to know where he is.” 

“What do we do?” the 
commissioner begged him. 

“1 don’t know. Do you think 
you ought to arrest me?” 

“I would need a charge. 
Negligence, manslaughter, kid- 
naping— none of them appear to 
fit the situation exactly, do 
they?” 

“I am not a policeman,” 
Hepplemeyer said. “In any case, 
it would interfere with my 
work.” 

“Is the boy alive?” 

“I don’t know.” 

“Can you answer one ques- 
tion?” the commissioner asked 
with some exasperation. “What 
is on the other side of the 
hoop?” 

“In a manner of speaking, 
the campus. In another manner 
of speaking, something else.” 

“What?” 

“Another part of space. A 
different time sequence. Etern- 
ity. Even Brooklyn. I just don’t 
know.” 

“Not Brooklyn. Not even 
Staten Island. The kid would 
have turned up by now. It’s 


THE HOOP 


89 


damn peculiar that you put the 
thing together and now you 
can’t tell me what it’s supposed 
to do.” 

“I know what it’s supposed 
to do,” Hepplemeyer said 
apologetically. “It’s supposed 
to bend space.” 

“Does it?” 

I “Probably.” 

“I have four policemen who 
are willing to go through the 
hoop— volunteers. Would you 
agree?” 

I “No.” 

I “Why?” 

I “Space is a peculiar thing, or 
perhaps not a thing at all,” the 
professor replied, with the 
difficulty a scientist always has 
when he attempts to verbalize 
an abstraction to the satisfac- 
tion of a layman. “Space is not 
something we understand.” 

I “We’ve been to the moon.” 

I “Exactly. It’s an uncomfort- 
able place. Suppose the boy is 
on the moon.” 

I “Is he?” 

“I don’t know. He could be 
on Mars. Or he could be a 
million miles short of Mars. I 
would not want to subject four 
policemen to that.” 

So with the simple ingeni- 
ousness or ingenuousness of a 
people who love animals,' they 
put a dog through the hoop. He 
disappeared. 

For the next few weeks, a 
police guard was placed around 

' the hoop day and night, while 


the professor , spent most of his 
days in court and most of his 
evenings with his lawyers. He 
found time, however, the meet 
with the mayor three times. 

New York City was blessed 
with a mayor whose problems 
were almost matched by his 
personality, his wit and imagin- 
ation. If Professor Hepplemeyer 
dreamed of space and infinity, 
the mayor dreamed as consist- 
ently of ecology, garbage and 
finances. Thus it is not to be 
wondered at that the mayor 
came up with a notion that 
promised to change history. 

“We try it with a. single 
garbage truck,” the mayor 
begged Hepplemeyer. “If it 
works, it might mean a third 
Nobel Prize.” 

“I don’t want another Nobel 
Prize. I didn’t deserve the first 
two. My guilts are sufficient.” 

“I can persuade the Board of 
Estimate to pay the damages on 
the Silverman case.” 

“Poor boy— will the Board of 
Estimate take care of my guilt.” 

“It will make you a 
millionaire.” 

“The last thing I want to 
be.” 

“It’s your obligation to 
mankind,” the mayor insisted. 

“The college will never 
permit it.” 

“I can fix it with Columbia,” 
the mayor said. 

“It’s obscene,” Hepplemeyer 
said desperately. And then' he 


90 


FANTASY AND SCIENGE FICTION 


surrendered, and the following 
day a loaded garbage truck 
backed up across the campus to 
the hoop. 

It does not take much to 
make a happening in Fun City, 
and since it is also asserted that 
there is nothing so potent as an 
idea whose time has come, the 
mayor’s brilliant notion spread 
through the city like wildfire. 
Not only were the network 
cameras there, not only the 
local and national press, not 
only ten or twelve thousand 
students and other curious city 
folk, but the kind of interna- 
tional press that usually turns 
out only for major international 
events. Which this was, for 
certainly the talent for produc- 
ing garbage was generic to 
mankind and perhaps the major 
function of mankind, as G.B.S. 
had once indelicately remarked; 
and certainly the disposal of the 
said garbage was a problem all 
of mankind shared. 

So the eyes stared, the 
cameras whirred, and fifty 
million eyes were glued to 
television screens as the big 
sanitation truck backed into 
position. As a historical note, 
we remember that Ralph 
Vecchio was the driver and 
Tony Andamano his assistant. 
Andamano stood in the iris of 
history, so as to speak, directing 
Vecchio calmly and efficiently; 

“Come back, Ralphy— a little 
more— just cut it a little. Nice 


and easy. Come back. Come 
back. You got another twelve, 
fourteen inches. Slow— great. 
Hold it there. All right.” 

Professor Hepplemeyer 
stood by the mayor, muttering 
under his breath as the dumping 
mechanism reared the great 
body back on its haunches— and 
then the garbage began to pour 
through the hoop. Not a sound 
was heard from all the crowd as 
the first flood of garbage 
poured through the hoop; but 
then, when the garbage disap- 
peared into infinity or Mars or 
space or another galaxy, such a 
shout of triumph went up as 
was eminently jwoper to the 
salvation of the human race. 

Heroes were made that day. 
The mayor was a hero. 
Professor Hepplemeyer was a 
hero. Tony Andamano was a 
hero. Ralph Vecchio was a 
hero. But above all. Professor 
Hepplemeyer, whose fame was 
matched only by his gloom. 
How to list his honors? By a 
special act of Congress, the 
Congressional Medal of Ecology 
was created; Hepplemeyer got 
it. He was made a Kentucky 
Colonel and an honorary citizen 
of Japan and Great Britain, 
Japan immediately offered him 
ten million dollars for a single 
hoop, an overall contract of a 
billion dollars for one hundred 
hoops. Honorary degrees came 
from sixteen universities, and 
the City of Chicago upped 


THE HOOP 


Japan’s offer to twelve million 
dollars for a single hoop. With 
this, the bidding between and 
among the cities of the United 
States became frantic, with 
Detroit topping the list with an 
offer of one hundred million 
dollars for the first— or second, 
to put it properly— hoop con- 
structed by Hepplemeyer. Ger- 
many asked for the principle, 
not the hoop, only the principle 
behind it, and for this they 
were ready to pay half a billion 
marks, gently reminding the 
professor that the mark was 
generally preferred to the 
dollar. 

At breakfast, Hepplemeyer’s 
wife reminded him that the 
dentist’s bill was due, twelve 
hundred dollars for his new 
brace. 

“We only have seven hun- 
dred and twenty-two dollars in 
the bank,” the professor sighed. 
“Perhaps we should take a 
loan.” 

“Oh, no. No, indeed. You 
are putting me on,” his wife 
said. 

The professor, a quarter of a 
century behind in his slang, 
observed her vvdth some bewil- 
derment. 

“The German offer,” she 
said. “You don’t even have to 
build the wretched thing. All 
they want is the principle.” 

“I have often wondered 
whether it is not ignorance after 
all, but rather devotion to the 


principle of duality that i . 
responsible for mankind’s aggra 
vation.” 

“What?” 

“Duality.” 

“Do you like the eggs? I go: 
them at the Pioneer super 
market. They’s seven cent.; 
cheaper, grade A.” 

“Very good,” the professo 
said. 

^‘What on earth is duality?’ 

“Everything— the way we 
think. Good and bad. Right and 
wrong. Black and white. M} 
shirt, your shirt. My country 
your country. It’s the way w- 
think. We never think of one, o 
a whole, of a unit. The univers. 
is outside of us. It never occur 
to us that we are it.” 

“I don’t truly follow you,' 
he wife replied patiently, “bu 
does that mean you’re nc 
going to build any mori 
hoops?” 

“Fm not sure.” 

“Which means you are sure.’ 

“No, it only means that I an 
not sure. I have to think abou 
it.” 

His wife rose from the table 
and the professor asked he 
where she was going. 

“I’m not sure. I’m eithe 
going to have a migrain 
headache or jump out of th 
window. I have to think abou 
it too.” 

The only one who wa 
absolutely and unswervingh 
sure of himself was the mayoi 


92 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


of New York City. For eight 
years he had been dealing with 
unsolvable problems, and there 
was no group in the city, 
whether a trade union, neigh- 
borhood organization, consum- 
er’s group or Boy Scout troop, 
which had not selected him as 
the whipping boy. At long last 
his seared back showed some 
signs of healing, and his 
dedication to the hoop was 
such that he would have armed 
his citizenry and thrown up 
barricades if anyone attempted 
lo touch it or interfere with it. 
Police stood shoulder to shoul- 
der around it, and morning, 
evening, noon and night, an 
endless procession of garbage 
trucks backed across the 
Columbia College quadrangle to 
the hoop, emptying their 
garbage. 

So much for the moment. 
But the lights burned late in the 
offices of the city planners as 
they sat over their drawing 
boards and blueprints, working 
out a system for all sewers to 
empty into the hoop. It was a 
high moment indeed, not 
blighted one iota by the pleas 
of the mayors of Yonkers, 
Jersey City and Hackensack to 
get into the act. 

The mayor stood firm. Hour 
by hour, there was no one hour 
in the twenty-four hours of any 
given day, not one minute in 
the sixty minutes that comprise 
an hour, when a garbage truck 


was not backing up to the hoop 
and discharging its cargo. Tony 
Andamano, appointed to the 
position of inspector, had a 
permanent position at the 
hoop, with a staff of assistants 
to see that the garbage was 
properly discharged. 

Of course, it was only to be 
expected that there would be a 
mounting pressure, first local, 
then nationwide, then world- 
wide for the hoop to be taken 
apart and minutely reproduced. 
The Japanese, so long expert at 
reproducing and improving any- 
thing the West put together, 
were the first to introduce that 
motion into the United Na- 
tions, and they were followed 
by half a hundred other 
nations. But the mayor had 
already had his quiet talk with 
Hepplemeyer, more or less as 
follows, if Hepplemeyer’s mem- 
oirs are to be trusted ; 

“I want it straight and 
simple, professor. If they take it 
apart, can they reproduce it?” 

“No.” 

“Why not?” 

“Because they don’t know 
the mathematics. It’s not an 
automobile transmission, not at 
all.” 

“Naturally. Is there any 
chance that they can reproduce 
it?” 

“Who knows?” 

“I presume that you do,” 
the mayor said. “Could you 
reproduce it?” 


THE HOOP 


93 


“I made it.” 

“Will you?” 

“Perhaps." I have been 
thinking about it.” 

“It’s a month now.” 

“1 think slowly,” the profes- 
sor said. 

Whereupon the mayor issued 
his historic statement, namely; 
“Any attempt to interfere with 
the operation of the hoop will 
be considered as a basic attack 
upon the Constitutional proper- 
ty rights of the City of New 
York, and will be resisted with 
every device, legal and other- 
wise, that the city has at its 
disposal.” 

The commentators immedi- 
ately launched into a discussion 
of what the mayor meant by 
otherwise, while the governor, 
never beloved of the mayor, 
filed suit in the Federal court in 
behalf of all the municipalities 
of New York State. NASA, 
meanwhile, scoffing at . the 
suggestion that there were 
scientific secrets unsolvable, 
turned their vast battery of 
electronic brains onto the 
problem; and the Russians 
predicted that they would have 
their own hoop within sixty 
days. Only the Chinese ap- 
peared to chuckle with amuse- 
ment, since most of their 
garbage was recycled into an 
organic mulch and they were 
too poor and too thrifty to be 
overconcerned with the prob- 
lem. But the Chinese were too 


far away for their chuckles to 
mollify Americans, and the tide 
of anger rose day by day. From 
hero and eccentric. Professor 
Hepplemeyer was fast becoming 
scientific public enemy number 
one. He was now publicly 
accused of being a communist, 
a madman, an egomaniac and a 
murderer to boot. 

“It is uncomfortable,” Hep- 
plemeyer admitted to his wife; 
for since he eschewed press 
conferences and television ap- 
pearances, his admissions and 
anxieties usually took place 
over the breakfast table. 

“I have known for thirty 
years how stubborn you are. 
Now, at least, the whole world 
knows.” 

“No, it’s not stubbornness. 
As I said, it’s a matter of 
duality.” 

“Everyone, else thinks it’s a 
matter of garbage. You stilt 
haven’t paid the dentist bill. It’s 
four months due now. Dr. 
Steinman is suing us.” 

“Come now, dentists don’t 
sue.” 

“He says that potentially 
you are the richest man on 
earth, and that justifies his 
suit.” 

The professor was scribbling 
on his napkin. “Remarkable,” 
he said. “Do you know how 
much garbage they’ve poured 
into the hoop already?” 

“Do you know that you 
could have a royalty on ever> 


94 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


pound? A lawyer called today 
who wants to represent—” 

“Over a million tons,” he 
interrupted. “Imagine, over a 
million tons of garbage. What 
wonderful creatures we are! For 
centuries philosophers sought a 
teleological explanation for 
mankind, and it never occurred 
to any of them that we are 
garbage makers, no more, no 
less.” 

“He mentioned a royalty of 
five cents a ton.” 

“Over a million tons,” the 
professor said thoughtfully. “I 
wonder where it is?” 

It was three weeks later to 
the day, at five twenty in the 
morning, that the first crack 
appeared in the asphalt paving 
of Wall Street. It was the sort of 
ragged fissure that is not 
uncommon in the miles of city 
street, nothing to arouse notice, 
much less alarm, except that in 
this case it was not static. 
Between five twenty and eight 
twenty, it doubled in length, 
and the asphalt lips of the street 
had parted a full inch. The 
escaping smell caught the notice 
of the crowds hurrying to work, 
and word went around that 
there was a gas leak. 

By ten o’clock the Con 
Edison trucks were on the 
scene, checking - the major 
valves, and by eleven the police 
had roped off the street, and 
the lips of the crack, which now 
extended across the entire 


street, were at least eight inches 
apart. There was talk of an 
earthquake, yet when contact-*- 
ed, Fordham University report- 
ed that the seismograph showed 
nothing unusual, oh, perhaps 
some very slight tremors but 
nothing unusual enough to be 
called an earthquake. 

When the streets filled for 
the noon lunch break, a very 
distinct and rancid smell filled 
the narrow cavern, so heavy and 
unpleasant that half a dozen 
more sensitive stomachs up- 
chucked; and by one o’clock, 
the lips of the crack were over a 
foot wide, water mains had 
broken, and Con Edison had to 
cut its high voltage lines. At 
two ten, the first garbage 
appeared. 

The first garbage just oozed 
out of the cut, but within the 
hour the break was three feet 
wide, . buildings had begun to 
slip and show cracks and 
shower bricks, and the garbage 
was pouring into Wall Street 
like lava from an erupting 
volcano. The offices closed, the 
office workers fled, brokers, 
bankers and secretaries alike 
wading through the garbage. In 
spite of all the efforts of the 
police and the fire department, 
in spite of the heroic rescues of 
the police helicopter teams, 
eight people were lost in the 
garbage or trapped in one of the 
buildings; and by five o’clock 
the garbage was ten stories high 


THE HOOP 


9 


in Wall Street, and pouring into 
Broadway at one end and onto 
the East River Drive at the 
other. Now, like a primal 
volcano, the dams burst, and 
for an hour the garbage fell on 
lower Manhattan as once the 
ashes had fallen on Pompeii. 

And then it was over, very 
quickly, very suddenly— all of it 
so sudden that the mayor never 
left his office at all, but sat 
staring through the window at 
the carpet of garbage that 
surrounded city hall. 

He picked up the telephone 
and found that it still worked. 
He dialed his personal line, and 
across the mountain of garbage 
the electrical impulses flickered, 
and the telephone rang in 
Professor Hepplemeyer’s study. 

“Hepplemeyer here,” the 
professor said. 

“The mayor.” 

“Oh, - yes. I heard. I’m 
terribly sorry. Has it stopped?” 

“It appears to have stop- 


ped now,” the mayor said. 

“Ernest Silverman?” 

“No sign of him,” the mayo, 
said. 

“Well, it was thoughtful o' 
you to call me.” 

“There’s all that garbage.” 

“About two million tons?’ 
the professor asked gently. 

“Give or take some. Do you 
suppose you could move the 
hoop—” 

The professor replaced the 
phone and went into the 
kitchen, where his wife was 
putting together a beef stew. 
She asked who had called. 

“The mayor.” 

“Oh?” 

“He wants the hoop 
moved.” 

“I think it’s thoughtful o 
him to consult you.” 

“Oh, yes— yes, indeed,” Pro- 
fessor Hepplemeyer said. “But 
I’ll have to think about it.” 

“I suppose you will,” she 
said with resignation. 


Coining next month 

Two unusual items are featured in November: 1) A never before published 
story by Anthony Boucher, and 2) A new story under the famous 
Pohl-Kombluth byline, written by Frederik Pohl and based on notes made 
while Cyril Kombluth was alive. John Sladek will be on hand with another 
parody (of Ray Bradbury), and Phyllis Eisenstein with a good, strong novelet 
concerning the further adventures of her teleporting minstrel, Alaric (“Bom 
to Exile,” August 1971). A good issue, and a good time to subscribe; 
remember, every issue of F&SF now carries 16 additional pages, at no 
increase in price. 


Mr. Leiber is back, speculating eerily 
oh country gardens and cats. (Note 
to Leiber fans: we still have some 
copies remaining of the special Fritz 
Leiber issue, signed by Mr. Leiber, 
available for $2.00 each.) 

The Lotus Eaters 


by FRFTZ 

I ALWAYS STRONGLY Dis- 
approved of castrating male 
cats or spaying female ones— I, 
believed that such operations 
diminished strength, invaded 
individuality, and were an insult 
to any being’s right to 
procreate— until I started to 
take care of a house and three 
neutered cats in Summerland in 
Southern California. It was a 
lovely house on the dry, steep 
hillside. 

Soon I began to have an 
understanding of my three 
eunuchs. 

My wife spent most of her 
time in bed. She was ill and had 
an addiction for alcohol and 
books and soft fireside lights. 

I fed the three cats: Braggi, a 
big, soft, sloppy male, red of 
lair and eye; Fanusi, a small 
leige female with the habits of 
i Rapper; and the Grand 
Duchess, white with black 


LEIBER 

spots, snaky and strong, who 
looked like some creature who 
should be riding point (though 
on what steed I don’t know) 
before a troop of western 
cavalry. 

Braggi was a lover. He would 
come over and just suddenly 
flop on my shoes— a great big 
gesture of affection. 

Fanusi was a neurotic, 
despite her basic flapper be- 
havior. Even while wooing you, 
she was nervous and apt to run 
off. 

The Grand Duchess never 
lost her cool, though she was 
the smallest— yet hardiest— of 
the three. 

The thing that most startled 
me about them, after about a 
week, was that they were all 
killers. They would bring in 
dead mice, rats even, birds and 
gophers, not eating them, but 
tossing them at my feet. I 


96 


THE LOTUS EATERS 


97 


expected they were devoted 
exponents of blood sports. In 
fact, I noticed that the Grand 
Duchess had a regular hunting 
trail she took each day, waiting 
for a few minutes at each kill 
spot. 

I wondered how they got 
enough to eat, since they 
apparently didn’t eat their 
kills— merely displayed them to 
me, while their mistress, who 
owned the house, when strictly 
giving them into my trust, 
assured me that they each took 
only two teaspoons of canned 
cat food a day. A statement I 
immediately wondered about. 

Soon I found the solution, 
through my wife, who under- 
stands people better than I do. 
Each of the three had a regular 
route to four sympathetic 
houses in the near neighbor- 
hood, where they got good 
victuals off the human tables. 

Then I became more aware 
of the quite large garden on the 
downhill side of the house my 
wife and I were taking care 
of— along with the three de- 
sexed hunting cats. (Heck— de- 
sexed!) They even indulged 
often in sex play with each 
other— neutering isn’t nearly 
such a disaster to sexual activity 
as many people think. Those 
three felines enjoyed each 
other. 

I got still more interested in 
the garden downside of the 
house, from which the cries of 


the cats would sometimes come 
in , the evenings like the soft 
coughs of lions. 

The garden was a jungle. No, 
worse than a jungle. More like 
chaos. 

So I started in on the worst 
stuff first. This happened to be 
a weed that had black spikes 
looking like early bambo 
phonograph needles, but wit 
tiny black burrs on the ends o^ 
them. They stuck on my socks 
and trousers very determinedly. 
But I kept getting rid of them, 
through the help of my wife. 

Then I came to small, 
brown, circular burrs. They 
weren’t so troublesome to deal 
with. The back garden began to 
look like something I could 
conquer. 

I started to cut out all sorts 
of dead wood. There were 
bushes that bore red berries in 
the center of the garden. When 
I’d sawed all of their gray, dry, 
dead underwood away, I 
discovered a simple cement 
fountain underneath. I imagine 
the mistress and master of the 
house we were tending— along 
with their three cats— could 
hardly have known about the 
fountain, since for five years 
they had merely ground-hosed 
the garden from above a half 
hour every afternoon, their 
only attention to that area. J 
never did find out how that 
fountain worked. 

My wife had a mild heart 


98 

attack about that time, but we 
found her a doctor who did her 
good, and both she and I kept 
up our lonely ways of life, she 
in her bedroom, I at my 
typewriter in my study, and 
always for a strenuous, sweaty 
hour or three in the back 
garden. 

I cleaned the lower surface 
out— now that the nastiest 
weeds were taken care of— first 
with a machete, then with a 
hand mower. 

Then I began to get at the 
trees and the high border 
vegetation. This meant much 
more deadwood. Too much for 
our garbage cans. I would load 
up my car with big corrugated 
cardboard boxes filled with my 
dead gray vegetable refuse and 
take it to the city dump, a huge 
dark valley behind the sea hills, 
but circled always with scream- 
ing sea birds. It gave me a 
strange feeling to do this, as if I 
were burying my wife— or one 
or all of the three cats she and I 
were tending. 

At about this time Braggi 
started visiting me in the 
downhill garden while I work- 
ed. He would watch me closely, 
and when I sat down on the 
crude fountain edge to rest and 
wipe my face, he would topple 
against my ankles in affection. I 
would stroke him. 

My wife read her books and 
drank her highballs in our 
bedroom. When she looked 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

down at me from the wide 
window, it was companionably, 
affectionately, and concerned- 
ly. I would wave at her. 

I was fascinated by the 
things my afternoon cuttings 
were uncovering. Working at 
the dead gray underbranches of 
two tall avocado trees, I 
discovered a complete hem- 
ispherical “pleasure dome,” as 
in the poem by Coleridge, a 
dome walled overhead with 
huge green leaves and large 
green dropping fruit. My wife 
and I had a tremendous salad 
that night. 

During later days, we gave 
away a number of these lovely, 
grainy-skinned fruits to briefly 
visiting friends. 

At about this time the two 
“altered” female cats— the neu- 
rotic Fanusi and the stately 
Grand Duchess— began to look 
in on me and Braggi from a 
distance occasionally as I 
worked in the garden. 

Then I attacked the fifteen- 
foot hedge of the whole 
garden— all green and vigorous 
with clumps of small yellow 
strange berries. I was amazed at 
my discoveries as I cut down 
this fierce stuff— three small 
evergreens growing sidewise in 
their attempt to get out of their 
huge green prison and reach the 
sun; two lovely branches of 
enormous, softly yellow roses 
iust in bloom; and a small 
orange tree with tiny fruit. 


THE LOTUS EATERS 

That night my wife and I 
had a beautiful centerpiece at 
our dining table and lovely 
screwdrivers. I had a great 
feeling of triumph at having 
conquered the garden. 

But later that night it was 
horrible. I awakened from a 
light sleep, and slipping out of 
the king-size bed very quietly, 
so as not to awaken my wife, I 
put on a dressing gown and 
stole down to the back garden. 

Everything I had cut down 
was growing at a supernatural 
velocity, though I don’t know 
what god or goddess had the 
power at that point. 

For a moment I stood 
astounded— long enough to note 
Braggi, Fanusi, and the Grand 
Duchess watching me from the 
hillside, silhouetted by the 
moonlight, ‘ 

It seemed clear that all the 
vegetation— grasses, weeds, 
shrubs, vines, and trees— was 
determined to encircle and 
strangle to death me and iny 
wife and the house. 

I realized I had not a green 
thumb, to give life, but a gray 
thumb, to give death. Though 
this left me with the paradox 
that in trying to bring the 
garden to life— to free it— I had 
infuriated it against me. 

I rushed uphill and upstairs. 
My wife roused instantly. I 
grabbed a bottle for her. 
Without packing, we raced out 
to our car past threatening 


99 

growing hedges and weeds 
which stung our legs. We 
jumped into the auto and 
started it, opening the back door 
and yelling, “Fanusi! Grand 
Duchess! Braggi! Pile in! ” 

To my relief and utter 
amazement they did— Fanusi 
almost in fits, Braggi loving as 
usual (in fact, snuggling up to 
my wife), the Duchess staring 
back over her white, black- 
spotted shoulder in a proud 
way at the vegetation which 
appeared to be pursuing us. 

Days later I sent some 
letters. 

Three months afterward I 
heard from the couple who 
owned the house. 

The chief points were that 
they were grateful to us for 
taking on their three cats— 
which had been a bother to 
them for a long time— but no 
offer to redeem their pets. And 
why had 1 left the back garden 
in such a rank state after 
promising to clear it? And yet 
taken away all the ripe 
avocados? 

In view of which my plea for 
a little extra care-taking fee was 
ridiculous. 

My wife and I looked at each 
other, while Braggi, Fanusi, and 
the Grand Duchess looked up at 
us from their appointed places 
before the flickering, red, 
streaming, mysterious fireplace, 
and smiled their Cheshire 
smiles. ■ 


BAIRD SEARLES 

FILMS 



Some months ago, while 
taking part in a panel on 
criticism at the Lunacon, I said 
in passing that I felt it part of a 
critic’s duty to make as clear as 
possible what his criteria are. 
It’s only fair to the reader to 
make it known to him what the 
critic feels to be his own 
limitations; otherwise he comes 
over like the voice of the 
Almighty declaring from on 
high, a school of criticism I’m 
not fond of. Since this piece is 
being written in the depths of 
the summer doldrums, when 
there is very little around to be 
reviewed except yet another 
Planet of the Apes film (I can’t; 
I’m sorry, I just can’t. . .and 
there’s a limitation right there) 
and another bunch of films 
about possession, it occurs to 
me that a short essay might be 
in order on what I look for in 
the fantastic film, combined 
with an extended Late, Late 
Show Department of examples 
from fUms that probably will 
keep appearing on television. 

I find that a major problem 
with the fantasy film (a 
convenient handle that includes 
sf and horror) is, as with the 
literary, sorting out the true 
narrative imaginative films from 
the satirical, the surrealist, the 
allegorical, and other forms of 
non-realism. About the only 
conclusion I’ve come to for 
both media is; is the reader/ 


FILMS 


101 


viewer expected to believe, if 
only momentarily, what he is 
reading/viewing?* One of the 
necessary talents for a writer in 
the field is to talk the reader 
out of his disbelief in the 
fantastic things he is being told. 
In film, the problem is only 
slightly different, mainly be 
cause a film is an amalgam of 
talents. But is the physical eye 
(as opposed to the mind’s eye 
of the reader) being convinced 
that the fantastic thing he is 
being shown is real? It is the 
moments when that happens 
that I look for, hope for, and 
sometimes find. 

Now judging from that, it 
would seem that all a filmmaker 
needs is a super special effects 
man, which, of course, is 
nonsense. But that has been the 
saving of more than one film 
that otherwise would have been 
balderdash, and why sometimes 
I give high marks to films of no 
intellectual content whatsoever. 
A perfect example is a film 
called Jason and the Argonauts 
(1963), which is a fairly simple- 
minded account of the journey 
of the Argo (though in all 
fairness I must say that it never 
lapses into blatant foolishness). 
Its special effects, however, are 
superlative, from the big set 

*For instance, not for a moment do 
you believe in the anthropomorphic 
animals of Orwell’s Animal Farm 
(book or film) though it is certainly 
successful satire. 


pieces (the giant of brass, the 
harpies, Poseidon rising from 
the waves, an eye-boggling 
battle with the skeletal warriors 
grown from the dragon’s teeth) 
to smaller touches (Hermes, in 
disguise, talks with Jason, and 
suddenly revealing his true 
nature, he grows to infinite size 
and disappears; the gods, on 
Olympus, hover over a gaming 
table where Zeus and Hera are 
playing with the real Argo on 
its voyage). All of these 
convince my eye, and I happily 
sit back feeling that I have seen 
wonders. On the other hand, 
due to the subtle interplay of 
eye and brain, a really idiotic 
script can undermine the very 
best special effects. This so 
often is the problem with the 
Japanese monster rallies. They 
are always good for amusement, 
but despite the often excellent 
effects, one doesn’t believe 
them even visually. 

Good special effects cost 
money, always a determining 
factor with film. Contrariwise 
to the above, too often one sees 
a film with a usable idea, a 
literate script and no budget for 
the effects called for, where- 
upon the whole project has 
fallen flat on its face. But this is 
where that odd quality called 
talent comes in. A really 
talented crew can evoke wonder 
with limited means and again, 
with the help of a good script, 
can sweep the eye and mind 


102 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


into belief. Stairway to Heaven 
(1946) was hardly a big budget 
movie by Hollywood standards 
of the time, but vdth astute use 
of visual manipulation, it stands 
as a stunning example of the 
romantic fantastic. Essentially a 
hymn to Anglo-American rela- 
tions, it concerns an English 
pilot shot down over the 
Channel. Fated to die, he is 
missed by the Heavenly messen- 
ger sent to collect him (a 
French aristocrat guillotined in 
the Revolution, who blames it 
on the English fog). The action 
shuttles back and forth between 
Heaven and Earth; the pilot 
refuses to go because he has 
fallen in love, in the time on 
Earth mistakenly allotted him, 
with an American girl. It 
resolves in a huge trial in 
Heaven, essentially encompass- 
ing the historical relationship 
between England and the U.S., 
the prosecuting attorney being 
a Y ankee killed in the American 
Revolution (played by Raymond 
Massey, a brilliant choice for 
the Lincoln association), the 
defense the pilot’s doctor, just 
killed in a motor accident. The 
major effect is an enormously 
wide marble escalator, bordered 
by epic statuary, that ascends 
upward to infinity, the stairway 
to heaven of the title. The trid 
is in a huge amphitheater, 
cleverly suggested as being 
made of clouds. At the 
conclusion of the trial, the 


camera pulls back, and the 
theater resolves visually into a 
spiral nebula, one of the great 
visual and conceptual moments 
in fantastic cinema. When 
exfiosed to an absolutely cold 
analytical eye, these effects 
show Em air of artifice, but 
suggestion and the flow of the 
intelligent script manage to 
utterly convince the viewer. 

Yet another method is to 
avoid visual effects entirely and 
to simply suggest the unbe- 
lievable; this takes great talent 
to pull off, and even then can 
be used only in certain genres, 
primarily the horror film. It was 
this on which the fame of Val 
Lewton’s horror films of the 
40s are based (The Cat People, 
etc.); hardly anything is shown, 
but implication and soxmd 
effects are used for subliminal 
evocation of horrors. And it 
was this that made the 
cinematic Turn of the Screw, 
Jack Clayton’s The Innocents, 
so hair raising (literally— it was 
the first time I had ever felt 
that interesting phenomenon). 
So far as I can remember, there 
was not one special effect used 
in the film. Incidentally, it is 
one film that does not hold up 
well on TV. Usually I find 
commercials not difficult to 
turn off mentEilly, since most 
films in their natural rhythm 
CEm take momentary inter- 
ruptions; it’s like laying down a 
novel every ten minutes or so. 


FILMS 


103 


But The Innocents has such a 
one-lined build of tension that 
the start-stop of television does 
it in entirely. 

The inherent problem with 
science fiction in film, of 
course, is that so much takes 
place in totally different en- 
vironments such as space or 
other planets. This is almost 
impossible to evoke or suggest; 
you simply need a Quo Vadis 
budget to build it. There are 
exceptions, of course. The 
Incredible Shrinking Man took 
a classic s-f theme and realized 
it brilliantly; Revolt of the 
Humanoids made a valiant 
attempt to create a future 
android/human society on a 
very slim budget and nearly 
carried it off with clever design 
and a script that made no 
concessions away from its 


excellent 40s style s-f ambiance. 

But until 2001, no film ever 
brought the feeling of space 
flight to me. (Even there, the 
“trip” sequence is a stylized 
evocation rather than the more 
“realistic” journey described by 
Clarke in the novel.) But like 
everything else I’ve talked of in 
this space, it seemed to depend 
much on the receptivity, 
susceptibility, and good will of 
the viewer. After my initial 
ecstatic review of 2001, I 
received a verbose and endless 
phone call from an irate lady 
who demanded a retraction, 
mainly because of all those 
shabby, shoddy models that 
Kubrick had used. Which goes 
to prove, I guess, that one 
man’s marvel is another man’s 
papier-mache. 


Mercury Press, Inc., Box 56, Cornwall, Conn. 06753 

Enter my subscription to F&SF— 16 extra pages in every issue— at the regular 
rates. I enclose □ $8.50 for one year; □ $21 .00 for three years. 

10-2 

Please print 


Name 

Address 

City State .Zip# 


Add 50)t per year for Canada and Mexico; $1 .00 for other foreign countries 


0aiwv 

(j)'doarv 



“Just exactly what are you teaching these children, 
MissRawleyV' 


104 


Harry Harrison is one of sf’s most versatile 
writers {and editors— his latest book is 
B E ST S F : 1971, from Putnam) , but he has 
few peers when it comes to the writing of 
fast-moving, humorous sf like this brisk 
tale of a fantastic shipboard romance. 

Strangers 

by HARRY HARRISON 


IT HAD RAINED DURING the 
night, scrubbing the air clean so 
that the looming gray bulk of 
Gibraltar stood out sharp and 
clear against the unbelievable 
blue of the Mediterranean sky. 
The blue that is impossible to 
mix on the palette; I tried I 
don’t know how many times 
before I finally stomped on my 
paint box and threw the whole 
mess over the side. Now there 
was The Rock, like something 
off a picture postcard or out of 
an insurance ad, and there was I 
on the rusty deck of the Mafia 
Bella heading ofr home. Depres- 
sing. The summer was over. 
Europe was saying an indif- 
ferent good-by. The dudes 
down there in the rowboats 
with the sleezy rugs and shining 
brass junk were my farewell 
committee. I spat into the 
ocean and turned my back on 
Europe. 

Africa was waiting on the 


other side of the strait, just 
hazy green hills from here. Yet 
hooked on to those hills was a 
continent; steamy jungles, burn- 
ing desert, exotic cities, ele- 
phants, cannibals, barebreasted 
broads, the whole steaming 
stew the mind conjures up at 
the mention of the word. 
Africa, I was saying good-by to 
Africa too— without ever even 
seeing it. Andy Davis: ex-stu- 
dent, ex-painter. Ex-expatriate 
as well. Back to the land of the 
Establishment which would 
reach out and grab me the 
second my foot touched the 
shore. The Army, A job. 
Responsibilities, A wife. Kids. I 
could see it all and I was 
thoroughly depressed. 

I had been hearing the 
bam-bam exhaust for some 
time, and now the vessel itself 
swxmg around the bow of the 
ship and headed for the lowered 
companionway. It was maybe 


106 

twenty feet long with a squaye 
cabin in the center that 
sprouted a pipe smokestack 
that puffed out a snort of black 
diesel smoke every time the 
engine fired. Ragged guys on 
deck, plenty of shouting in a 
couple of languages; and frezied 
throwing of ropes before they 
drifted to a halt. More shouts 
while they levered out a couple 
of ancient heavy trunks onto 
tne companionway and up to 
the Ship. A new passenger? I 
moved over for a better view. 
My only fellow passenger on 
the fireighter was an old French 
priest with red eyes and a 
bobbing head and not a word of 
English. Smiles and bonjours 
were hot my idea of bright 
conversation. Captain Sebas- 
tiano spoke a kind of English, 
but he was put out by my 
rebuff when I explained that 
though I swung I didn’t swing 
the way he did, and so now he 
had his eyes on the young 
messboy and only glared at me 
whenever we met. So another 
passenger would really help 
since I didn’t look forward to 
talking to myself and counting 
rivet heads all the way across 
the Atlantic. 

It was another passenger, but 
I was still out of luck. An Arab 
woman, head to toes in yards of 
black cloth, black shoes and 
gloves, a veil, the works. She 
would talk Arabic and maybe 
French and be a hundred years 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

old, and there went my jollies 
for this crossing. The teunks 
went by, and she came up the 
steps looking down carefully, 
and I wished I had bought some 
more books for the trip, 
bought some more books for 
the trip. 

When she passed she raised 
her head, and I stared into the 
darkest, blackest, loveliest eyes 
I had ever seen. Fell down into 
their depths as the poet said. 
Just that quick look, vanished 
in an instant, long lashes, 
arched eyebrows, fair skin. 
Then gone. I gaped after her, 
and from the way she moved I 
could tell she was young, 
gracefully young. 

Bam. Just like that, I went 
to my cabin and closed the 
door and dug out the bottle of 
grappa and poured the water 
glass half full and belted it 
down. And shuddered. It hit me 
real hard, and I’m not the kind 
of guy that gets hit that way. 
You know. Bam. Like in a song. 
Across a crowded room. One 
look, and then I knew. But this 
wasn’t the romantic love the 
songs sung about. This was 
good old-fashioned lust. Maybe 
when I saw what was behind 
the veil and the clothes, I would 
change my mind. Probably. But 
it was the mystery that got to 
me because not seeing what was 
there I could imagine anything. 
My imagination worked over- 
time. I lay back on the bunk 
with the warm patch of sunlight 
from the porthole moving over 
me and sucked at the grappa 
and watched the visions go by. 


STRANGERS 

Ten days at sea, just her and 
me. 

I fell asleep during this haze 
of pure delight, eind niy 
imaginings carried over into my 
dreams, which did them no 
harm at all. Things were just 
getting good when there was a 
sharp crash that kicked me 
awake and sitting up. 

My glass. It had fallen to the 
floor and broken. We were 
under way, and the Maria Bella 
was heaving up and down in a 
more uncomfortable fashion 
than I had ever known her to 
do before. I went on deck and 
saw the cold green of the 
Atlantic rollers coming at me, 
lifting, the ship and passing 
beneath her. We had sailed 
while I was asleep. I turned 
quickly, and there was only the 
open sea astern and a ragged 
pennant of white gulls drifting 
above the wake. The ship lifted 
higher on a large wave, and for 
an instant I could see a smudge 
on the horizon, and then this 
was gone too. My last sight of 
Europe. 

There was a bonging from 
the passageway, and the mess- 
boy poked his head out on 
deck. “La cena, signore, ” he 
said, bonging the gong in my 
direction to drive home the 
message. 

“Si, pronto. ” And I meant it. 
The cook was the only good 
thing about this rusty tub, and 
he liked everyone to the table 


107 

on time, or he sulked and 
overcooked the spaghetti or 
burned the meat. I hurried to 
wash and remembered our new 
passenger and so put on my last 
clean shirt and my tie for the 
occasion. 

As usual the captain wasn’t 
there. He ate in his own 
quarters ever since our dif- 
ference of opinion. The priest 
nodded and smiled and sucked 
at his soup, and the second 
mate, Allesandro, looked up 
and mumbled something unhap- 
pily. He had reason to be 
unhappy. He and Giorgio, the 
first mate, were the only 
officers other than the captain, 
and he did as little work as 
possible. So they stood watch 
and watch, twelve on and 
twelve off every day of the 
week while at sea. They were 
both always tired. But whoever 
owned the ship saved a bundle 
on salaries. The bowl of soup 
was slid under my nose. 
Minestrone again, but I loved it, 
and I shook it full of cheese and 
poured in some of the rough 
red wine from the carafe on the 
table, filling my glass too, and 
dived in. 

I was sopping up the last 
dregs with bread when she came 
into the dining room. 

She was in silently and 
seated at an empty place at the 
long table before I was even 
aware of it. I pulled the napkin 
away from around my neck— 


108 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


keep my only tie clean at any 
cost— and half rose, then 
dropped back. She was silent, 
calm, and those eyes above the 
veil, just as I remembered them 
only maybe better. 

“Buona sera, ” Allesandro 
muttered. 

‘Buona sera. ” 

Sweet as a bell. None of the 
harshness that most Arab 
women seem to have to their 
voices. 

‘Buona sera, ” I said, not to 
be left out of the act. “E, 
anche. . . signora, signorina, I 
mean. Allesandro, how in hell 
do you say welcome aboard?” 

“I speek English eef you 
weesh.” 

“Cool. I do too.” Witty as 
hell tonight. “So welcome 
aboard.” 

She just nodded at that and 
sat there as calm as a statue. My 
brain ground to a stop, and 
there was nothing I could say 
though I had been most chattily 
seductive in my erotic imagina- 
tion of the afternoon. I gulped 
down some wine and watched 
out of the comer of my eye as 
the soup arrived and was put in 
front of her. Now unless she 
had a damned big soda straw, 
sqmething would have to be 
done about the veil. I felt a 
tightening in my gut, and I 
drank some more wine. 

It was simple enough. She 
just unhooked the black veil 
and took it off. 


My erotic fantasies had been 
seVond-rale. This was a face in a 
thousand, the kind they photo- 
graph for the magazine covers 
and make screen tests of, or 
maybe launch a thousand ships 
for. Pointed and heart-shaped, 
smooth and flawless. Full lips, 
red and moist, the nose a 
graceful swoop, the cheekbones 
just right. If I wasn’t such a 
lousy second-rate artist, I would 
have painted that face. As a 
not-too-bad lover, I wanted to 
kiss those lips. Would I were the 
chunks of macaroni in her 
minestrone, as the poet said. 
Speak lover, begin the immortal 
conversation that will bring her 
rushing to your arms. 

“My name is Andy Davis.” 
Ohh, that will bring her rushing 
all right, but, Christ, at least I 
was talking again. “Your fellow 
passenger.” 

She looked at me again, 
spoon poised halfway to her 
mouth, frowning slightly. 
Translation problems? Should I 
tell her again? Before I could 
make my mind up, she spoke. 

“I am fellow passenger as 
well. My name ees Tamu 
Safavi.” 

“That’s a very nice name.” 

“My father gave eet to me.” 

“That’s great. My father gave 
me mine too.” He hadn’t. In 
fact he wouldn’t even use it. I 
was named after my mother’s 
uncle, whom he despised, and 
he always called me Buster. 


STRANGERS 

“I’m named after Andrew 
Jackson, Old Stonewall, who is 
a relative.” 

“An old stone wall?” 

Allesandro snorted loudly 
and began to chew on some 
olives. I ignored him. We were 
rapping and that is what 
counted. There would be plenty 
of time to improve the quality 
of the conversation. 

The thing was she wanted to 
talk, I felt that at once. And her 
accent wasn’t as bad as I 
thought it was. We talked 
throu^ the rest of the meal, 
which I do not remember at all, 
and she told me about this 
town where she came from, I 
forget its name, and how her 
old man was in business and 
that is where the money came 
from and how she was on the 
way to the States to stay with 
relatives. I told her how I got 
out of college and had worked 
at a job and saved to come to 
Europe and I had, and how my 
old man was a vice president of 
a corporation she had maybe 
heard of, but she hadn’t, most 
of which was true, except I 
forgot to mention I got out of 
college by being thrown out, 
and how the Army had its jaws 
open to swallow me as soon as I 
appeared again. And how I 
didn’t want to get swallowed, 
or get married and have a house 
in the suburbs and grab the 
8:07 every day, or how much I 
enjoyed booze and a joint now 


109 

and then and did not have the 
slightest idea where I was at or 
where I was going. 

Then she said excuse me and 
drifted off, and I went back to 
my cabin and finished the 
grappa, and even in the dark I 
could still see her face. 

The next morning when I 
came up, she was sitting in a 
deck chair reading the Bible. 
She was no longer wearing the 
veil but was still draped in the 
black outfit, clothes by Omar 
the Tentmaker. Then she 
looked up and caught me 
staring at the Bible. 

“Do you know this book?” 
she asked. 

“Yeah, sure. Always a copy 
around the house. A best 
seller.” 

“The priest gave it to me at 
breakfast. He said it would do 
me good, and it does make 
interesting historical reading. 
Parts of it are exactly like the 
Koran. I must give him a Koran 
in return.” 

“I don’t think that’s what he 
had in mind.” I dropped into 
the next chair and opened my 
shirt. The sun was warm, and I 
was not getting into any 
religious discussions, thank you, 
no. “Great day for sunbathing.” 
Her eyebrows lifted daintily. 

“Sunbathing. That’s what we 
do a lot of.” A quick lecture on 
comparative civilization, and 
the Bible is forgotten. “In your 
country you wear heavy clothes 


110 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


to keep off the heat of the sun, 
but we do it the other way. See 
how these chairs are made so 
-you can stretch out. We wear 
heavy clothes all winter, then 
'peel down in the summer to get 
a tan. Everybody does it.” 

“Peel? That means to strip 
off the skin, rind, bark, etc., 
decorticate. You will not peel 
off your skin?” I had to laugh, 
and she hesitated a second, then 
laughed as well. “I have made a 
foolish linguistic mistake?” 

“Hardly. You’re correct, 
though that decorticate is a new 
one to me. Peel, that’s slang, to 
take off your clothes. Like, 
look, I’ll peel off my shirt now 
so the sun can get to me.” And 
I did. Things were moving along 
just too nicely. 

“Do you peel off all your 
clothes? We would never do 
that.” 

Wouldn’t you? Not even if I 
helped. I choked over the 
thought and had a quick cough 
to cover it. 

“No, not all the clothes. We 
usually wear swim clothes for 
sunbathing, that kind of thing.” 

“And what are they?” 

“It’s, well, sort of hard to 
describe.” Brainstorm. “Look, 
hold on a sec. I have a magazine 
in my cabin with pix in it, sort 
of give you the idea.” 

A beat-up copy of Life. 
Ticket to paradise. I was down 
the steps and back inside sixty 
seconds, thumbing through it. 


Jackpot! A bathing suit ad with 
zoftig broads lolling around in 
postures of wild abandon. 

“I see,” Tamu said, but 
never changed expression. Very 
cool this girl. “The fabric and 
colors appear different, but 
essentially the same areas are 
covered in all the designs.” 

“Yes, those are the areas— 
the idea, you have the idea.” 

“May I read the rest of the 
magazine?” 

“Great, keep it if you want. 
I’m going to get some coffee- 
want some?” 

She shook her head no, 
already well into the mag, and I 
went -after the coffee, which I 
needed. When I came back she 
was gone, and she didn’t come 
out for lunch, and I was going 
to knock and see if anything 
was wrong, but when I passed 
her cabin I didn’t have the 
nerve. The captain’s door 
opened when I went by, and 
the messboy came out and 
rolled his eyes sadly at me, and 
the captain, glaring and shirt- 
less, slammed the door behind 
him. I looked at my money 
again, and it hadn’t grown since 
last I looked, so I decided what 
the hell I might as well be broke 
as land in New York with seven 
bucks and so went to buy 
another dollar bottle of grappa 
from the purser. A few good 
belts of this helped my 
digestion and state of mind, and 
I went back on deck, and she' 


STRANGERS 


111 


was there in the same deck 
chair. 

Only this time wearing a 
tight black low-cut bathing suit. 

“Is there something wrong 
with it?” she asked when I 
braked to a sudden stop. 

“No, great, couldn’t be 
greater. I thought you didn’t 
know anything about this kind 
of thing?’’ 

“I assembled it out of other 
clothes I have. If I am to go to 
the States, I must dress as 
others dress.” 

“A nice idea.” I dropped 
into the next chair feeling 
definitely light-headed. She had 
a build like the kind you always 
hope you are going to see but 
never do. All girl, lots of it, 
looking very soft and pneumat- 
ic indeed, and it took an effort 
of will not to lick my lips. 

“Now we will sunbathe, and 
I hope you will tell me more 
about your country that I have 
never seen.” 

I did. She was eager to hear 
everything about our great land, 
and I gave it to her, chapter and 
verse. First general, cultural, 
artistic, and political, then 
specific, social customs and 
habits, aiming eventually at a 
detailed lecture, with examples, 
on interpersonal relationships. 
She listened intently every foot 
of the way. Nail polish and 
maniciuing needed a demon- 
stration that involved my 
holding her hand— and a neat 


little warm hand it was 
too!— that did not bother her in 
the slightest. But time had 
slipped by a lot faster than I 
had realized, so that just at this 
happy moment there was a 
bong in my ear and the 
messboy With gong and hammer 
stood there looking at me 
reproachfully out of his hound 
dog eyes. It was time to get 
dressed for dinner. 

This time when I passed the 
captain’s cabin, the door swung 
open suddenly, and he popped 
out like a Mediterranean jack- 
in-the-box. 

“I am watching you with 
this woman,” he hissed. 

“Don’t be jealous, not your 
type.” 

“Do not make fun with me. 
She is no good Arab woman 
with her clothes off and no veil. 
And the talk. At first she speaks 
English very bad, then lil at 
once, instantaneamente, she 
speaks perfect with North 
American accent.” 

“Can’t hate the girl because 
she’s got a good ear.” 

“Una meretrice! That’s what 
she is. Prostituta for the CIA. 
CIA spy!” He was waving his 
hands and getting very excited, 
and so I squeezed by. 

“You have too much imag- 
ination, Captain. Just too 
much.” 

But did he? I thought about 
it while I shaved with the rusty 
trickle of lukewarm water from 


112 

had read it from the dictionary. 
Like that other time with peel. 
Is that why her English, was so 
good? She had memorized a 
dictionary. I knew she was 
bright— but that bright? I stole a 
quick look, but she was intent 
on absorbing every page of a 
coverless Reader's Digest. Try 
my tie carefully so the knot 
covered the new spot of 
spaghetti sauce and grabbed up 
the magazines she had asked 
about. The captain was a nut. 

We moved to the cracked 
leather chairs at the end of the 
dining room after dinner, and 
Tamu dived into the reading. 
The priest vanished without 
nodding, misunderstanding the 
gift of the Koran perhaps, and I 
found a magazine with a 
crossword puzzle I hadn’t done 
and waded into it when Tamu 
showed no interest in continu- 
ing our conversation. She had 
the thick black outfit on again, 
and it was intimidating. 

“Fraggis. . .frittle. . I mut- 
tered and erased. 

“What is that?” she asked. 

“Microscopic substructure,” 
I answered, purely by reflex, 
intent on the puzzle. “Eight 
letters beginning with FR.” 

“Frustule, botany, the si- 
liceous cell wall of a diatom.” 
Then she was back at her 
reading. 

It fit. It was right. Just like a 
definition out of the dictionary. 
In fact it sounded just like she 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

the faucet. The CIA part, I 
mean that was screwball. But 
Tamu was speaking good 
English, incredibly better Eng- 
lish than she had been speaking 
just a day earlier. She was a 
bright girl, that’s all. She picked 
things up fast. Nothing else. 

Yet it still bugged me. I tied 
another one, this could have 
been a fluke. 

“Madly desirous, twelve let- 
ters.” 

“Concupiscent.” 

“Yes, that seems to fit. Here, 
nineteen down, beginning with 
an H, Six letters, a feudal service 
or tribute—” 

“Heriot.” 

And she did it, I swear, while 
she was still reading about The 
Greatest Character Working for 
the F.B.I. I Have Ever Known. I 
was beginning to sweat. I had 
never even heard of heriot, but 
it fit perfectly. What was with 
this girl? A great memory, 
photographic maybe, trained to 
remember anything read. A 
spy? That was nuts. I was 
beginning to think like the 
captain. Memory was one thing, 
intelligence another. I scratched 
some figures in the margin of 
the page. 

“Here is an interesting 
puzzle, ha-ha. There are ninety- 
two. . .hunters and they go 
hunting and every guy shoots 
four hundred and thirty ducks. 
How many ducks do they kill? 
This is a time limit. . 


. CTRANGERS 

“Thirty-nine thousand, five 
hundred and sixty. That is a 
very large flock of ducks.” 
Turning the page, not even 
looking up. 

This was all wrong. This was 
no half-educated Arab girl from 
the back of beyond. She 
pretended to be unsophis- 
ticated, but it didn’t work. She 
could do math in her head that 
I had to work out on paper. 
And maybe had a better 
vocabulary than I had. Me, a 
dropout from one of the better 
universities. I’m not sure I liked 
it. I caught a sudden movement 
out of the corner of my eye and 
looked up to see the purser 
going into his cabin. Now that 
was a thought. 

“Have to see the purser,” I 
muttered and went after him. 

“You can have good Scotch 
whiskey for only two dollars,” 
he said gloomily, digging into 
the stacked boxes. A man with 
an ulcer surrounded by a sea of 
booze. He had a right to be 
gloomy. 

“It is a matter of budget not 
quality, signore purser. The few 
bucks I have left must get me to 
New York. So I consider only 
alcoholic content for money 
paid. Grappa. Please.” 

He dug out a bottle of the 
oily, clear, poisonous liquid— 
with a corncob for a cork, a bit 
of symbolism I have never been 
quite able to understand— and 
dusted it off. 


113 

“Six hundred lire or a dollar 
American.” 

I slapped at my pocket and 
realized I had left my wallet in 
my cabin when I had changed. 

“I’ll bring you the money 
later.” The bottle vanished back 
into the box far faster than it 
had appeared. “You can trust 
me. I’m not going to jump 
overboard and swim ashore 
with your buck bottle of booze 
in my teeth.” He sat unmoving, 
slumped under the weight of all 
the poverty forced upon him by 
embezzling tourists. “All right 
then, don’t lock up. I’ll be right 
back.” 

Tamu was gone, though the 
magazines were still there, 
which was okay. A few stiff 
belts would clear my head 
before I tried talking to her 
again. I went down quietly past 
her cabin so she wouldn’t hear 
me and to my own, the door of 
which was slightly open. 

I had left it closed. And 
locked. I always kept it closed 
and locked so there would be 
no temptation for any of the 
crew to lift anything of 
mine— or my few remaining 
dollars. Which were in the 
room! 

I threw the door open. It 
was anger, pure and simple. 
Really simple. If I had stopped 
to think for a moment, I could 
have visualized one of the 
musclebound stokers, my wallet 
in one fist, a length of lead pipe 


114 

in the other. Bam on the head; 
over the side. Not nice. But I 
did not stop to think or 
summon aid but barged right in. 

Tamu was standing over my 
open suitcase with my passport 
in her hand. 

It was a stopper all right. 
What did you say in a situation 
like this? I was still angry and 
that helped. 

“You have broken into my 
cabin and are stealing my 
passport!” 

“How cruel of you. The 
door was open and I came in. I 
have stolen nothing.” 

“You have it in your hand!” 

“I am examining it. It is a 
very interesting document.” 

“You better believe it, baby, 
and hard to come by. Now 
hand it back.” 

. She hesitated a moment, 
looking at me closely, before 
she spoke. 

“I would very much like to 
examine it further. Just for a 
little while. You know I will 
give it back— what else could I 
do?” 

What else? What did she 
mean? And I was still angry. 

“Of course you can examine 
it. But the examination fee for 
the standard blue American 
passport with a number punch- 
ed through it is a hundred 
dollars an hour.” 

“Very agreeable. Here is the 
hundred dollars.” 

And she had it too, in a little 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

purse she dug out of her 
clothes. Five twenties, coin of 
the realm. They were in my 
palm, and she was out of the 
door before I could realize what 
had happened. 

One hundred bucks. They 
crinkled and smelt like the real 
green, and for all I could tell 
they were. And a minute later 
the purser agreed with me as he 
cashed one and gave me the 
change from two bottles of real 
Scotch whiskey. He almost even 
smiled at the magnitude of the 
purchase. The stuff tasted very, 
very good indeed, and I chased 
the first glassful with a second 
to warm me all the way down. 

Why? Don’t ask. There are 
times for questions and times 
for spending. This was a 
spending time. Europe was 
behind me, America ahead, a 
mystery woman in my life, and 
money in my pocket. Plus, 
there was more than booze on 
this ship . One of the sailors had 
already sidled up and tried to 
sell me a lid of what looked like 
very fair grass except I was too 
broke to buy. I wasn’t now! 
The hell with mystery and 
women when there were head- 
ier pleasures awaiting. 

I got smashed, bombed, 
really wiped out. I’m not sure 
why. Maybe long abstinence, 
maybe thoughts of the future, 
maybe my mysterious CIA- 
Arab Mata Hari. Maybe because 
I’m just stupid. I knew from sad 


STRANGERS 


experience that joints and juice 
don’t mix, but I wasn’t 
remembering this night. I sat 
out on the fantail and drank 
and smoked and looked at the 
stars which were doing things 
that I had never seen stars do 
before, and it was just pure luck 
I didn’t roll over the side into 
the ocean and drown. 

An indeterminate length of 
time later I found my supplies 
depleted and wondered if I 
could get some more, then 
wondered if I had any money 
left, then wondered if it might 
not be time to find my cabin. 
Mind you, the thoughts did not 
move in this logical or simple a 
fashion, but this is what they 
added up to because I found 
myself further down the rail, 
then on a stairway, then in a 
corridor. I had no memory of 
physically moving, just these 
still scenes like bits of a badly 
cut movie full of sharp 
transitions. I was in front of a 
door and a little screwing up of 
my eyes to read the number 
and some more difficult screw- 
ing up of my brain to remember 
the significance of the number 
produced the fact that it was 
her cabin. 

“Her cabin,” I told myself 
with authority. Some sort of 
bright blue li^t was flickering 
on and off inside the cabin, I 
could see it beneath the door, 
but it was of no interest to me. 
“My passport. You have rented 


11 r. 

my passport and the hour is up. 
Return my passport.” 

When I knocked, the door, 
unlocked, swung open. There 
was some sort of sound and the 
blue light went out. I pushed 
the door wide and went into 
the dark room. The door was 
closed behind me, and I was 
aware of Tamu, quite close. 

“Your passport is back i'T 
your room. I returned it some 
time ago.” 

“Passport,” I said, putting 
my hands out to find my 
balance in the unsteady dark- 
ness. Instead of solid wall I 
touched soft woman. My hands 
were on her shoulders, he/ 
back, before I realized that it 
was skin I was touching not 
clothing. 

“Tamu. . 

“You had better go to your 
cabin now, Andy. We’ll talk in 
the morning.” 

“Tamu,” pulling her closer. 

“Please, I do not think this is 
wise.” 

Her flesh was velvet. 

“Don’t argue about it now, 
Andy. It is not a matter of a 
simple yes or no, or of what 
you call morality. Should you 
be dding that?” 

I should. I did. I wanted to. 
There were no more arguments. 

It was afternoon before I 
could crawl out of bed, and 
crawl was all I could do. I wai 
in my own cabin, and I never 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


116 

questioned how I had gotten 
here. In fact memory of the 
jorevious evening returned only 
lowly as I chewed all the 
ispirins and pills I had, took a 
old shower, and rang for the 
lessboy, who finally appeared 
nd had to be fearfully 
^vertipped to bring me lots of 
black coffee at this unusual 
hour of the day. His eyes 
brimmed with sorrow as always 
\vhen he looked at me, though 
this time with damn good 
reason. 

When memory and an 
imitation of health had re- 
turned, I began to beam at 
myself in the mirror. This was 
qoing to be a good trip after all. 
Shaved, powdered and restored, 
I went out and down the 
corridor, whistling, to Tamu’s 
cabin and pushed the door 
open. 

“Hi!” I called out warmly, 
but there was no one there. The 
cabin was neat, the big trunks 
closed and locked, no clothing 
or personal possessions in sight 
at all. Except for an American 
passport on the writing desk. 
Mine? But mine was still in my 
cabin; I had found it there and 
locked it away. I picked it up 
and turned to the first page, 
looking at the photograph with 
the official red and blue 
lettering across the edge of it. 
Tamw stared up at me out of 
Jie picture. 

It could not be true, but it 


was. It was her, wearing a white 
blouse. The page opposite gave 
the name of Tammy Savani. 
Tamu Safavi? Birthplace, Con- 
necticut, U.S.A. Was she CIA 
then and the captain was right? 
Or maybe the other gang, a 
Russian— and what had she 
wanted my passport for? 

“When you are through 
examining it, may I have it 
back?” she asked. Inside with 
her back to the closed door. 

“You’re an American?” 

“No.” 

“Well then a Soviet spy— or a 
Peking commando or—” 

“No. None of those things. 
But I will tell you if you will 
listen.” 

“Tell, tell,” I said, throwing 
the passport down and drop- 
ping into the chair. The 
headache was back with ham- 
mers in the temple, and I was 
feeling very confused and not 
too good. 

“This is a business trip, 
nothing more. I am a commer- 
cial representative representing 
Certain financial interests inter- 
ested in investments.” 

“You said you were a simple 
Arab girl.” 

“A necessary cover.” She 
stood calmly, unemotionally, 
with her hands lost in her dark 
garments; 

“Well what are you really?” 
I was feeling quite peckish. 

“If I were to tell you, what 
would you do?” 


STRANGERS 

“What? Nothing I suppose. 
I’m no business spy or 
salesman. Doesn’t bother me. If 
you were a government spy, 
okay, that’s different, and I’m 
still going to believe you are 
until you convince me dif- 
ferent. But business is business, 
that’s what dad always says.” 

“Very wise of your father. I 
must meet him. I am sure it 
would be to our mutual 
financial advantage.” 

“You ought to meet him— 
you are even beginning to 
sound like him. Convince him 
he can make money selling 
Hammer and Sickle tractors, 
and he’ll have everyone in the 
office with red stars in their 
buttonholes. So what country 
are you from?” 

“None you know.” 

This teed me. “My geog- 
raphy isn’t that bad, maybe 
my best subject. I know every 
country, even the new ones.” 

“My country is incredibly 
distant, a matter of light-years.” 

“Yeah, yeah, like on another 
planet.” 

“That is correct.” 

Well that stopped me, as you 
might imagine. And sobered 
me. 

“You are making a big 
statement, Tammy-Tamu, Do 
you have any proof?” 

“Of course I do, more than 
enough. I am here to attempt to 
open commercial relationships 
with your world, and so I have 


117 

a complete range of samples of 
products as well as details of 
manufacturing techniques and 
other items that might be of 
interest.” 

“Show me.” 

She did. She took her hand 
out of her clothing and held up 
a red cylinder about as long as 
my thumb. 

“Brownian thermal utiliza- 
tor, a generalized heat tool. No 
external power source needed 
since it taps molecular binding 
energy. Useful life about a 
hundred of your years. Two 
controls. This single wheel 
adjusts the output from a small 
thermion about the size of the 
flame of a cigarette lighter,” it 
flared bluely, “to a wider area 
that may be used for food 
preparation, paint removal, 
industrial applications, or any 
other use.” A red* disc appeared 
in the air which wavered with 
heat waves. 

“Very handy gadget.” My 
throat was very dry. 

“Or at full output and 
narrow field it produces a 
thermal lance that has applica- 
tions in welding, cutting and 
other uses.” 

A red line, thin as a thread, 
sparked from her hand and 
across the room where it burnt 
a blistering, melting hole in the 
steel bulkhead. The thing 
snapped off and she put the 
gadget down on the table. I 
looked at it with very wide eyes 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


118 

*nd felt no temptation to pick 
it up. 

“A very nasty weapon,” I 
said. 

“It could be used as that.” 

“And you had it in your 
hand while we talked. In case I 
gave the wrong answers to your 
questions?” She did not reply, 
and I did not press the point. 
“Then I gave the right 
answers?” 

“Yes. I was rather sure you 
would. I wish to employ you as 
a cultural contact for our 
organization, lawyers, engi- 
neers, and the like, after the 
opening negotiations are es- 
tablished. Your main occupa- 
tion will be to see that contact 
with yovu: governmental and 
business executives runs 
smoothly in the opening when 
difficulties might arise. . 

“They might see you as 
front man— girl— for an in- 
vasion.” 

“They might. A very primi- 
tive reaction. You will advise 
ways to avoid this kind of 
occurrence. Your fee will be 
one million dollars and one 
millionth of one percent of net 
profits during a period of two 
decades or your life, whichever 
is the longer.” 

“You talk like a lawyer,” 
Tamu.” 

“I am one, among other 
things.” 

“And one of those things is a 
woman. Do you want to tell me 


about that? Is it an accident 
that your people and mine are 
so much alike?” 

“No accident. Quite de- 
liberate. We have many similar- 
ities; erect bipeds, bisexual, 
binocular vision and hearing, 
etc., but the differences, I am 
afraid, outweigh the similar- 
ities;” 

“You look pretty similar to 
me.” 

“Elective surgery. Our medi- 
cal techniques are far beyond 
yours in every way. That is 
another item we should be able 
to sell.” 

I tried to imagine what she 
really looked hke— then tried 
not to imagine. It might be best 
to settle for the form I knew. 
Particularly after the previous 
night. Last night! 

“I’m— I guess sorry about 
what happened here last night. 
I’m afraid I wasn’t quite 
myself. . 

“I was fully aware of that. 
The odors of cannabis and ethyl 
alcohol were quite strong. I 
thought you might cause a 
disturbance if you did not get 
your way. I could not turn on 
the lights because the dimen- 
sional copier was open while I 
prepared my passport from 
yours. The course chosen 
seemed to be the wisest for the 
occasion.” 

“Yes, ha-ha, wisest. Glad 
you didn’t mind.” 

“I felt no emotion at all 


STRANGERS 

about the occasion. Had I been 
a zoologist or an anthropolo- 
gist, I might have taken notes. 
Though it did make me aware 
of one factor that perhaps ypu 
might like to know. Mine is a 
bisexual race, as I told you. For 
first contact on this world I 
adopted this form of the female 
of your species that the 
exobiologists assured me would 
be both attractive and motherly 
to bring out protective instincts 
in the male.” 

“The ample motherly aspect 
brings out other instincts as 
well.” 

“I am aware of that now and 
will inform our specialists of 
the fact. What I wish to inform 
you of is the fact that the 
female form was adopted for 
this role.” 

“Then you are. . 

“Male. Exactly. One of the 


119 

senior executives in our larges t 
corporation.” 

I was right. She— I mean 
he— and dad would really get 
along. The potted biograph> 
my father had had written for 
him described himself in the 
same words. Senior executivi 
. . .largest corporation. Maybe 
they were from differen 
planets, but they thought alike 
They were part of the establish- 
ment, and it was depressing tr 
•think of the establishmen 
stretching from one side to the 
other of the galaxy. But I 
shouldn’t complain. Me and my 
million dollars and my per 
centage were going to be part of 
it now. 

And then I had an even more 
depressing thought. 

I mean I always said screw 
the establishment. 

But literally? 


ISAAC ASIMOV 

SCIENCE 



THE UNLIKELY 
TWINS 


A LITTLE OVER A YEAR AGO 
(as I write this) I was urged by 
two estimable ladies at Walker 
and Company to write a satire 
on the sexual “how-to” books 
that were, and are, infesting the 
nation. Much against my better 
judgement I let myself be 
talked into it, and one weekend 
in April, 1971, I sat down and 
dashed off something called 
THE SENSUOUS DIRTY OLD 
MAN. (A case of typecasting, I 
suppose, except that I’m not 
really old.) 

It was published under the 
transparent pseudonym of “Dr. 
A.,” and I was under the 
impression that nobody was 
going to know I wrote it. 

Fat chance! The “secret” 
was announced in a press 
release even before the book 
was published, and pretty soon 
I found myself on television in 
my role as sensuous dirty 
late-youth man. And now it is 
out in paperback with the “Dr. 
A.” followed by my full name 
in parentheses. 

Since the book is not grimy, 
it never made the best-seller 
lists. On the other hand, since it 
is funny, it sells pretty well. 


SCIENCE 121 

And because it is not grimy and is funny, I’m not in the least 
ashamed of it. 

One thing, though, is that I’m getting (and expect to continue 
to get) a rash of speaker-introductions that include “—and among 
his umpty-ump books are ASIMOV’S GUIDE TO THE BIBLE and 
THE SENSUOUS DIRTY OLD MAN.” 

The incongruous coupling is always good for a laugh, which, of 
course, is why they do it. 

Incongruous couplings are amusing, or disturbing, in science, 
too, and I will now go on to talk of it in connection with a pair of 
particularly unlikely chemical twins. 


Carbon is one of the elements known to the ancients, because 
its chemical properties are Such that it can exist free in nature; and 
because it is solid, and therefore easily recognizable. There are 
nine such elements altogether and, of these, seven are metals. 
(See THE FIRST METAL, December, 1967.) Only two are 
non-metals; carbon is one and sulfur is the other. 

Carbon actually exists as a mineral and can be dug out of the 
earth. In one of its less common forms it is a black, flaky 
substance that can be used for making marks. While solid enough 
to stick together in a chunk, tiny pieces will rub off when it is 
passed over some surface. Pieces of such carbon (mixed with clay) 
are used as the “lead” in pencils and it is therefore called 
“graphite” from a Greek word meaning “to write.” 

The ancients did not, however, come across carbon in the form 
of graphite to begin with. It is much more likely that their first 
experience with carbon came in connection with wood fires. If the 
pile of burning wood was large and insufficiently aerated, the wood 
inside the pile would not burn completely. Atoms in the wood other 
than carbon (chiefly the hydrogen atom) would combine 
readily with oxygen. It was molecules of hydrogen-combined-with- 
carbon, that produced the vapors and dancing flame. Carbon 
atoms in themselves combine with oxygen not at all readily, and 
when the hydrogen -containing compounds are consumed and the 
. flame dies down, wood that has been charred blackly into carbon 
may be left behind. 

In Latin, this black stuff was called “carbo,” from which we get 
our word “carbon.” In English, the word “coal” originally meant 
any glowing ember, and when such embers ended up charred into 
a black substance, or when such a black substance could form an 


122 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


ember, it was called “charcoal.” 

The value of charcoal was that it would bum if it was well 
exposed to air, but unlike wood, would release no vapors to speak 
of and yield no flame. It merely glowed, and the result was that it 
delivered a particularly high temperature over a particularly long 
period of time. The high temperature was particularly valuable in 
the smelting of iron, and charcoal-making became an importemt 
industry. (Since it was particularly wasteful of wood, it 
accelerated the disappearance of forests in those areas where 
•metallurgy was important.) 

Over geologic ages, whole forests have slowly undergone a kind 
of natural charring by heat, pressure, and insufficient oxygen, and 
thick seams of carbon are commonly found undei^ound. This is 
“coal” (because it will form a coal in the old sense if heated). 

Some forms of coal are more nearly pure carbon than others 
are. If coal is heated without access to oxygen, the 
non-carbonaceous portion is driven off, and what is left is called 
“coke.” 

Another form of carbon which must certainly have been noted 
in earliest times is the soot deposited out of the smoke and vapor 
of burning wood or oil. This is composed of carbon fragments left 
behind when the readily inflammable hydrogen -containing 
compounds burn, with the hydrogen seizing the oxygen so avidly 
that the carbon atoms are sometimes crowded out. This soot, 
mixed with oil, formed the first inks, so that carbon is the secret 
of both pen and pencil. 

All these forms of carbon are black and brittle. Graphite is 
clearly crystalline while the other forms are not. Charcoal, coal, 
coke and soot, in all their various forms, are, however, made up of 
crystals of microscopic or sub-microscopic size, and these are 
always identical to those in graphite. It is perfectly fair, therefore, 
to lump all the forms of black carbon together as “graphite.” 

To be sure, although carbon has been known in elementary 
form since prehistoric times, its recognition as an element in the 
modem chemical sense did not take place until chemists 
understood what elements were— in the modem chemical sense. 

It was not till the 1 8th Century that chemists developed a clear 
notion of elements, and it was only then that it was realized that 
graphite was an element, being made up of carbon atoms only. 

Now we change the subject, apparently. Since ancient times, 
occasional pebbles were discovered which differed from aU others 


SCIENCE 


123 


in being extremely hard. They could not be scratched by anything 
else, rocks, glass or the sharpest metal. The pebbles, on the other 
hand, could scratch anything else. 

The Greeks called it “adamas” or, in the genitive case 
“adamantos,” from words meaning “untamable” since there was 
nothing else that could make an impression on it. This became 
“adamant” in English, a word still used to signify the 
characteristic of un changeability. However, the word also 
underwent gradual distortion, including the loss of the initial “a,” 
and became “diamond,” which is what we now call those hardest 
of all pebbles. 

In the early days of chemistry, chemists gained a furious desire 
to know the composition of all things, diamonds included. 
Diamonds were, however, hard to handle just because they were 
“untamable.” Not only could they not be scratched, but they 
remained untouched by almost all chemicals and were not affected 
by even considerable heat. 

What’s more, chemists weren’t too anxious to expose diamonds 
to the chance of chemical or physical vicissitudes. A diamond 
couldn’t possibly change into anything as valuable as itself, and 
who wanted to buy a diamond and then destroy it. 

What was needed was a rich patron and, as it happened, Cosimo 
III Grand Duke of Tuscany, who ruled from 1670 to 1723, was 
well-to-do and was interested in science. In about 1695, he 
presented a couple of interested Italian scholars with a diamond, 
and the scholars put it at the focus of a strong lens. The 
concentrated Solar rays lifted the temperature of the diamond to a 
level higher than that of any flame available to the experimenters. 
—And the diamond disappeared completely. 

That was their report, and, naturally, it was met with 
considerable scepticism. Nevertheless, the number of chemists 
willing to repeat the experiment was confined to those willing to 
risk a diamond, and it was eighty years before the experiment was 
repeated. 

In 1771, a French chemist, Pierre Joseph Macquer, obtained a 
flawless diamond and ^heated it to temperatures approaching 
1000° C. The diamond was, by then, red-hot, yet there seemed to 
be a still brighter glow around it. The temperature was maintained, 
•and in less than an hour the diamond was gone. 

Was the diamond simply vanishing in some mysterious way, or 
was it burning? If it were burning as other things burned, a supply 
of air would be necessary. A jeweler named Maillard therefore 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


124 

packed diamonds into all sorts of non-combustibles, sealed the 
whole system tightly and then heated it strongly enough to make 
the diamond disappear. This time it did not disappear. The 
conclusion was that diamonds burned in air just as so many other 
things did— provided they were heated sufficiently. 

About this time, the French chemist, Antoine Laurent 
Lavoisier (See SLOW BURN, October, 1962.) was working out the 
fundamentals of modern chemistry and he was to make it quite 
clear that ordinary burning in air involved a combination with 
oxygen of whatever it was that was burning. The burning object 
turned into an oxide, and if it seemed to disappear, it was because 
the oxide was a vapor. It could be concluded then that 
diamond-oxide was a vapor. 

One ought to trap and study the vapor if one wanted to find 
out something about diamond. In 1773, Lavoisier, Macquer and a 
couple of others heated a diamond under a glass bell jar, using a 
giant burning glass. The diamond disappeared, of course, but now 
the diamond-oxide vapor was trapped inside the bell jar. It could 
be studied and was found to have the same properties as carbon 
dioxide obtained by burning charcoal. 

By the time Lavoisier had completely worked out his oxide 
theory, he had to conclude that diamond and graphite both 
yielded carbon dioxide and that both were therefore forms of pure 
carbon. 

The incongruity of placing diamond and graphite in the same 
cubbyhole was so extreme as to cause laughter— or indignation. 
Scientists found it hard to believe. Diamond (once it was properly 
cut-^with other diamonds) was transparent and beautiful, while 
graphite was black and dull. Diamond was the hardest substance 
known; graphite was soft and so slippery that it could be used for 
a lubricant. Diamond did not conduct an electric current; graphite 
did. 

For a generation, chemists remained doubtful, but more and 
more experimentation finally made the fact incontrovertible. 
Graphite and diamond were two different forms of carbon. In 
1799, for instance, a French chemist, Guyton de Morveau, heated 
diamond strongly in the absence of air (so that it would not bum) 
and actually observed it change into graphite. 

Naturally, once diamond was successfully turned to graphite, 
there arose a furious interest in the possibility of doing the reverse; 
of turning graphite into diamond. Throughout the 19th Century, 
attempts were mede, and for a while it was believed that the 


SCIENCE 


125 

French chemist, Henri Moissan, (See DEATH IN THE 
LABORATORY, September, 1965.) had succeeded in 1893. He 
actually presented diamonds he had prepared, one being a 
thirty-fifth of an inch in diameter and, apparently, flawless. 

The work could not be repeated, however, and it is now known 
that diamonds couldn’t possibly be formed by the methods 
Moissan used. The usual theory is that Moissan was victimized by 
an assistant who hoaxed him and then dared not own up to it 
when the hoax was taken seriously. 

Carbon is not unique in this twinship. There are other cases of 
elements existing in different forms. Ordinary oxygen consists of 
molecules, each of which contain two oxygen atoms. Ozone, 
however, (discovered in 1840) consists of molecules, each 
containing three oxygen atoms. Oxygen and ozone are 
“allotropes” (from a Greek word meaning “variety”) of oxygen. 

There are allotropes of sulfur, phosphorus, and tin, too, and in 
every case it is a matter of the atoms of the element being present 
in any of two or more different arrangements. 

Well, then, aren’t diamond and graphite just one more case of 
allotropy? Yes, but in no other case are allotropes of an element 
so distinct in properties, so radically different, as are diamond and 
graphite. It is possible that such opposites can be produced merely 
by rearranging the atoms? 

Let’s go back to the carbon atom. It has four bonds; that is, it 
can attach itself to four different atoms in four different 
directions. The bonds are in the direction of the vertices of a 
tetrahedron. 

You can perhaps see this without a three-dimensional model 
(two-dimensional drawings are of doubtful help) if you imagine 
the carbon atom sitting on three of its bonds as though it were a 
flattish three-legged stool, while the fourth bond is sticking 
straight up. 

If a series of carbon atoms are attached, one to another, to 
form a chain, such a chain is usually written in a straight line, for 
simplicity’s sake; -C-C-C-C-. Actually, it should be written zig-zag 
to allow for the natural smgle (109.5°) at which the bonds are 
placed. 

By following the natural angle of the bonds it is easy to 
produce a ring of six carbon atoms, but that ring isn’t flat. Seen in 
profile, the two ends curl up or one end curls up while the other 
curls down. Ignoring that, we can write the six-carbon 


126 FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

“cyclohexane ring” as follows; 


si I ^ 
/\ 


Notice that each carbon atom has four bonds altogether. Two 
are used up in joining to its neighbors in the ring, but the 
remaining two are available for use in other ways. 

In the case of each carbon atom, however, one of those two 
spare bonds can be added to those forming the ring. In that case 
each carbon atom is joined to one of its neighbors by a single bond 
and to the other by a double bond to form a “benzene ring”, thus; 

i 





Ordinarily, a double bond between carbon atoms is less stable 
than a single bond. You would expect that it would be easy to 
convert the benzene ring into a cyclohexane ring— but it isn’t. 
Quite the reverse! The benzene ring is more stable than the 
cyclohexane ring despite the double bonds. 

The reason for this is that the carbon atoms in the benzene ring 
are in a plane; the benzene ring is perfectly flat. Furthermore, the 
benzene ring is symmetrical. This flatness and symmetry adds to 
the stability of the ring for reasons that require the use of 
quantum mechanics, and, if you don’t mind, we’ll leave out the 
quantum mechanics in these articles. 

Of course, the benzene ring as I drew it above is not entirely 
symmetrical. Each carbon atom has a single bond on one side and 
a double bond on the other, and surely this represents an 
asymmetry. Yes, it does, but this business about single bonds and 
double bonds arose before chemists had learned about electrons. 
Nowadays, we know that the bonds consist of shared electrons 
and the electrons have wave properties. 

If the single bonds and double bonds are taken literally, it 
would seem that two carbon atoms separated by a single bond 
share two electrons and two carbon atoms separated by a double 


SCIENCE 127 

bond share four electrons. This would be so if the electrons were 
particles— but they are waves. 

Because of the flatness and the symmetry of the benzene ring, 
the electron-waves stretch over the entire benzene ring and 
distribute themselves equally among all the atoms. The result is 
that each carbon atom is attached to each of its neighbors in 
precisely equal fashion (which is what makes the benzene ring so 
stable). If we wanted to be simplistic, we would say that the six 
connections in a benzene ring consisted of six “one-and-a-half” 
bonds. 

We could therefore write the benzene ring as follows, in order 
to show the equivalence of the bonds and make the molecule 
entirely symmetrical. 


C 



t 


Notice that each carbon atom in the benzene ring still has one 
spare bond that could be attached to some atom not in the ring. 
These bonds can all be attached to still other carbon atoms which 
can themselves form parts of other benzene rings. In the end you 
can get a tessellation of hexagons (such as those we frequently see 
on a tile floor) with carbon atoms at every vertex, thus: 


If you imagine a large number of such flat tessellations, one 
stack^ over another, then these tessellations will hold together, 
not by oridinary chemical bonds, but by weaker “Van der Waals 
forces.” 

Each carbon atom in a hex^on is 1.4 angstroms from its 
neighbor (where an “angstrom” is a hundred-millionth of a 
centimeter). One tessellation is, however, 3.4 angstroms from the 
one below. The longer distance in the second case is an expression 
of the weaker force of attraction. 

As it happens, pure graphite consists of just such stacks of 
tessellations of carbon atoms. Each flat layer of hexagons holds 


128 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


firmly together but can be easily flaked off the flat layer beneath. 
It is for this reason that graphite can be used for writing or as a 
lubricant. 

Then, too, the electrons that stretch all over the benzene rings 
have some of the properties of the mobile electrons that help form 
metallic bonds. The result is that graphite can conduct an electric 
current moderately well (though not as well as true metals). 

Heat and electricity can travel more readily along the plane of 
tessellation than they can travel from one plane to another. This 
means that heat can travel through a graphite crystal in one 
direction a thousand times more easily than it can in another 
direction. The corresponding figure for electricity is two hundred. 


What about diamond, now. Let’s go back to the single carbon 
atom with its four bonds pointing equivalently in four directions; 
a carbon atom sitting on a flat tripod with the fourth bond 
upward. 

Imagine each bond connected to a carbon atom, each of which 
has three remaining bonds, and each of these is attached to a 
carbon atom, each of which has three remaining bonds, and each 
of these is attached to a carbon— And so on and so on and so on. 

The result is an “adamantine” arrangement, a perfectly 
symmetrical arrangement of carbqn atoms in three dimensions. 

This means that all the carbon atoms are held equally well in 
four different directions. No atom or group of atoms is 
particularly easy to break off, so diamond won’t flake. You can’t 
write with it or use it as a lubricant. 

Quite the reverse. Since in every direction, carbon atoms are 
held together by strong single bonds, and since these are the 
strongest bonds to be found in any substance solid at ordinary 
temperatures, diamond is unusually hard. It scratches rather than 
being scratched and, far from lubricating, would quickly ruin 
anything at all rubbing against it. 

Fiu'thermore, the electrons in diamond are all held firmly in 
place. Their waves are confined to the space between two atoms, 
so that diamond is a poor conductor of heat and electricity. 

About the only thing that isn’t easy to explain is why diamond 
is transparent and graphite is opaque. That comes down to 
quantum mechanics again, and I won’t try. 

The next question is this: If you start with a lai-ge quantity of 


SCIENCE 


129 


carbon atoms and let them combine, what arrangement will they 
take up spontaneously: the graphite arrangement or the diamond 
arrangement? 

Well, it depends on conditions. 

On the whole, the benzene ring is so stable that, given a 
reasonable choice, carbon atoms will happily form these flat 
hexagons. (While carbon atoms in the benzene ring are separated 
by 1.4 angstroms, those in the adamantine arrangement are 
separated by 1.5 angstroms.) Under most conditions, then, you 
can expect graphite to be formed. 

Diamond, however, has a density of about 3.5 grams per cubic 
centimeter, while graphite, thanks to the large distance between 
tessellations, has a density of only about 2 grams per cubic 
centimeter. 

If, therefore, carbon atoms are placed under huge pressure, the 
tendency to have them rearrange themselves into a form taking up 
less room eventually becomes overwhelming and diamond is 
formed. 

But if at ordinary pressure, graphite is the form of choice, how 
is it that diamonds exist? Even assuming they were formed in the 
first place under great pressure deep in the bowels of the earth, 
why do they not turn to graphite as soon as the pressure is 
relieved? 

There’s a catch. The carbon atoms in diamond would indeed be 
doing what comes naturally if they shifted into the graphite 
configuration. They are held so tightly by their bonds, however, 
that the energy required to break those bonds and allow the shift 
is enormous. It is as though the diamond were on top of a hill and 
perfectly ready to roll down it except that it is at the bottom of a 
deep pit on the top of that hill and must be lifted out of the pit 
before it can do any rolling. 

If the temperature of diamond is raised to nearly 2000° C. (m 
the absence of oxygen, so as to prevent burning) then it is lifted 
out of the pit, so to speak. The atoms are shaken loose and take 
up the preferred graphite configuration. 

To do the reverse — to turn graphite into carbon— you need not 
only very high temperatures to knock the atoms loose, but also 
very high pressures to convince them they ought to take up the 
denser diamond pattern. 

Moissan’s facilities in 1893 were absolutely incapable of 
delivering the simultaneous heights of temperature and pressure' 
required so that we know he could not really have formed 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


130 

synthetic diamonds. In 1955, scientists at General Electric 
Company managed to form the first synthetic diamonds by 
working with temperatures of 2500° C. combined with pressures 
of over 700 tons per square inch. 

One last item, before I let you go for this month. Carbon has a 
total of six electrons; boron, five; and nitrogen, seven. If two 
carbon atoms combine (C-C), they have twelve electrons 
altogether. If a boron atom and a nitrogen atom combine (B-N) 
they also have twelve electrons altogether. 

It is not surprising, then, that the combination of boron and 
nitrogen, or “boron nitride” has properties very much like that of 
graphite, (though boron nitride is white rather than black and does 
not conduct electricity). Boron nitride is made up of hexagons in 
which boron and nitrogen atoms alternate at the comers, and from 
these hexagons, stacks of tessellations are built up. 

If boron nitride is subjected to the h^h-temperature, 
high-pressure combination, its atoms also take up the adamantine 
arrangement. The result is a denser and harder form of boron 
nitride; a form called “borazon.” (The “-azon” suffix comes from 
“azote,” and old name for nitrogen.) 

Borazon (again, not surprisingly) is almost as hard as diamond. 
In fact, it has an important advantage over diamond in being 
non-inflammable. It can be used at temperatures where diamond 
would combine with oxygen and disappear. 

Borazon may therefore well replace diamond for industrial 
uses, but somehow I don’t expect to see borazon engagement rings 
for a while. 


ABOUT THE COVER: Volcanic action or an atmosphere long ago frozen on 
to its rocks could have formed the cave seen here on the enigmatic planet 
Pluto— outpost of the Solar System unless the existence of “Planet X” is 
confirmed. The icicle-like structures, once formed as the temperature 
dropped, would remain unchanged for aeons. We are looking across a waveless 
lake of liquid methane; such a surface could account for the fact that Pluto 
seems to be smaller than the calculations which led to its discovery in 1930 
suggested. We may be seeing a point reflection of the Sun in a smooth globe, 
instead of the true diameter. The Sun appears as a star-like point, but still 100 
times as bright as a full Moon. Painting by David Hardy from CHALLENGE 
OF THE STARS by David A. Hardy and Patrick Moore, Mitchell Beazley, 
1972 (to be published in the U.S. by Rand McNally). 


One of Zenna Henderson's stories about 'The 
People" was recently done on TV /with some success 
according to our man in front of the tube, 

Baird Searles. This is not a People story, but it 
retains the distinctive qualities which have 
gained Mrs. Henderson such a devoted following. 

Thrumthing and Out 


by ZENNA 


I SHOULD HAVE REPORTED 
the Spill the second i found it. 
I felt a cold clutch of terror 
when I saw it— back in a comer 
of Section LL, halfway up 
YDN, about where the wall 
changes color. A Spill meant a 
Breach— an incursion of Out! In 
all my dreams I had never really 
believed that this could ever 
happen— and certainly not to 
me— to actually find a Breach— 
though this was exactly what all 
my training as a Greenclad was 
supposed to prepare me for. My 
hand should have flovm auto- 
matically to my belt alarm. By 
now Repair should be swarm- 
ing— 

So why didn’t I report it? 
Maybe because it was so small? 
Only about two handfuls of 
brown granular substance— if I 
had dared gather it up to 
measure it. But some disastrous 
Spills have started pinpoint. 
Maybe because it was so quiet? 


HENDERSON 


So was the Spill that killed 
every breathing thing in Section 
YL, a hundred years or so ago. 
No, after searching myself for a 
long time, I’ve finally decided. I 
didn’t report it because it was 
Mine. 

It’s only been in the last few 
months that I have begun to 
realize that everything is Town. 
Nothing is Mine— nothing of my 
own. Of course I’ve known this 
all my life. Of course no 
individual owns anything. We 
possess when we need. Even 
though we say my quarters, my 
bed, my coat, we know it’s 
really Ours. And if we have a 
need, we fill it wherever we find 
the item available, being sure, 
of course, that we do not 
deprive another capriciously. 
But for it always to have been 
so and to come as a sudden 
realization, are two different 
things. 

So, as I crouched there, 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


132 

staring at the Spill, I vividly 
realized— of all Town, no 
one— no one else knew! No one 
else had seen! No one else at all, 
at all! This was Mine! And if 
Mine, then I must touch to 
possess. Quickly, before I could 
reason, I put my hand out and 
flatly pressed the Spill. My 
hand snatched away and, for a 
breath-span, I saw the shadowy 
print of my fingers and my 
palm. Then there was a shift, a 
movement. I winced back. My 
hand print was gone. And now, 
surely, there were three hand- 
fuls of the brown granules 
instead of two, and the new 
in-move had brought a finer 
greyish, substance with it. 

I waited, unbreathing, for 
the whole of Section LL to 
crack, to give way and 
irretrievably breach Town. I 
stared, half hypnotized, until I 
thought I could actually distin- 
guish the irregular outlines of 
the small breach in the wall, 
behind the granules— a breach 
perhaps no larger than my 
thumb. The powdery granules 
settled again, and a sudden 
thrust of light from the hole 
made every granule cast long, 
ominous shadows. Panic-strick- 
en, I pushed my hand towards 
the Spill and the light. 
Fleetingly I saw the pink flesh 
of my fingers filtering the light. 
Then my hand was dark. There 
were no shadows, no light— only 
the greyish brown Spill. 


Perhaps I had stared too 
long. Perhaps my eyes had 
made illusive light of their own. 
Because how cquld light come 
from Out and not damage? 

I swallowed and stood up 
stiffly. I glanced at my 
watch— my work watch, marked 
with no frivolous hours, but 
only Duty, Change and Release. 
It was in the orange Shift 
Change sector. TOth a sinking 
feeling I realized. Shift change. 
Someone else would come— 
Well, the Spill had been Mine. 
For a little while. Now the next 
Green along the catwalk would 
see the Spill and report it with 
much noise and excitement. I 
clutched the railing and looked 
down, down into the shadowy 
depths below me. I couldn’t see 
the bottom. I could see the 
curvature far to my left but not 
to my right. I couldn’t see the 
curve above. Rebelliously I 
thought— in all this creation, all 
this Town, why couldn’t I 
conceal this one tiny place? 
This hand-span of Mine. 

Then I remembered. This 
was my first shift this year in 
this sector. I had found a heap 
of anonymous clutter pushed 
across the catwalk, cutting off 
this section. I had had to clear 
the walk, then round the 
structural element before find- 
ing the Spill. Whoever had been 
duty in the period before 
Transfer had been slouching the 
job, not scanning the Wall inch 


THRUMTHING AND OUT 


133 


by inch as required. Well, then— 

I pushed the clutter back 
across the catwalk. With a sense 
of betraying, I saw how easy it 
was to go on by and not bother 
with this short jog of the walk. 
I was uneasy because I had so 
nearly passed it myself without 
noticing it. 

I had no time to brood over 
it. The flick of the section lights 
indicated the shift change was 
on his way. I rubbed my guilty 
hand down the side of my 
uniform, fished the symbolic 
key out of its holster and had it 
ready to pass along to my relief. 
I tightened my jaws against the 
inevitable. According to the 
Roster, Gillyun was my relief. 
And knowing Gillyun— 

I saluted and, extending the 
key, said, “Secure.” Gillyun 
sketched an excuse for a salute 
and took the key carelessly. 
“Vigilance,” he said, his eyes 
mocking me. “Come, come. 
Corolla, lovely child! Blush for 
me!” 

His laughter followed me as, 
blushing furiously, and deliber- 
ately slowing my steps to 
conceal any suggestion of flight, 
I turned my back and left. I 
” disliked Gillyun’s eyes and 
voice almost as much cis I did 
the impudent curl of his 
beginning whiskers! He’s one of 
those odious creatures who 
start belaboring sex differences 
as soon as he finds out there are 
any! Well, at least I wouldn’t 


have to worry about his finding 
my Spill. In all probability he 
had put the clutter there 
himself to cut his patrol 
distance. And whoever followed 
him was just as bad. GiUyun is a 
slack, slouchy worker, a dis- 
grace to the Order of Green- 
dads. I wished his transfer 
schedule had coincided with 
mine— then he wouldn’t still be 
around. 

That evening. Sepal, my best 
friend, and I went down to the 
Recreation Square. The Experi- 
mentalists were there from 
Music Division — which is a 
Secondary, of course. They are 
trying out different instruments 
that they have built from 
Archive pictures— hand instru- 
ments— for making music— I 
mean raw, not even program- 
med. And some of the weird 
effects they get from even 
weirder looking instruments is 
droU! How they labor, bending 
so intent and sober over those 
collections of wires and wood 
and twisted metal— and the 
squeaking, squacking, blaring 
results— well, it’s really more-so! 

Sepal was fascinated by one 
instrument that consisted of 
wires stretched over a roundish, 
flatish box of wood, and she 
lingered after the concert to get 
a closer look at it— or the 
ginger-whiskered fellow who 
played it. I wandered off 
through the crowd to my 
favorite seat near the Memory 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


134 

Arch. I kicked off my sandals 
and flexed my toes. They didn ’t 
like the thongs that circled each 
of them, then joined over my 
insteps. The turf was pleasantly 
warm underfoot, and the cool 
air moved pleasantly over my 
face. I like the Memory Arch. If 
you can remember your his- 
tory, you can pick out the life 
of Town on that arch, right up 
to where the present blankness 
begins. And what person in 
Town has never dreamed of 
having the next spot on that 
bright curve? But that night the 
thought was less than warm to 
me. My eyes sought out the 
place, too far above for me 
actually to see, where one of 
our family had been so 
honored. 

We are a long, proud line, we 
Greenclads— my father and his 
father and his father before 
him— stretching back, so they 
say, to that dim long ago when 
the order of Greenclads was 
first commissioned. We have 
always been proud of the 
responsibility that took them— 
and now us-^aily so close to 
death and disaster to protect 
Town from death and disaster. 
In the past, many Greens have 
given their lives in the line of 
duty. We have stories, not only 
of our own family, of the 
heroism and unselfishness of 
those who died. Our family has 
small plaque, a tiny copy of the 
figure on the Memory Arch. It 


shows our man, his face twisted 
away from the hissing, roaring 
Spill that was blinding him as 
he pressed his body into the 
breach long enough for Repair 
to arrive. And not all Spills have 
been noted in history. Not all 
heroes are known— the many 
unsung who have done their 
duty so faithfully. So why 
hadn ’t 1 reported the Spill? 

I stubbornly twisted away 
from the discomfort of the 
thought and went back to look 
for Sepal, She was leaning on 
the edge of the platform, 
looking adoringly up at the 
musician who was sitting on the 
edge of the platform, looking 
adoringly down at her as they 
both ignored the instrument on 
the floor beside him. 

I sighed patiently. Some 
day! Some day Sepal would 
prove immune to any likely 
male — then— well, I guess then I 
would worry! 

I picked up the instrument 
and held it across me. I flipped 
my fingers across the strings. He 
had plucked them gingerly 
between thumb and forefinger. 
I liked my thrum better than 
the plok-plok he had produced. 
I shifted my fingers at the 
narrow end of the box and 
strummed again. The tone had 
changed. The musician’s head 
jerked up and his eyes left 
Sepal’s. 

“What did you do?” he 
demanded. 


THRUMTHING AND OUT 


135 


I almost dropped the instru- 
ment in my astonishment. “I 
didn’t hurt it,” I said defensive- 
ly. “I only-” 

“Show me! Show me!” the 
fellow demanded. “Do it 
again!” 

So I strummed. And shifted 
my fingers. And strummed 
again. And had the instrument 
snatched from me. The fellow 
bent, engrossed, over the thing, 
strumming and shifting— 

Sepal drew a long, exasper- 
ated breath, her lips tightening 
as she glared at me. She released 
the breath explosively through 
her nose and stalked away. I 
followed her, my eyes rolled up 
patiently. Now she’d pout for 
an hour or so. Well, could I help 
it if I had short-circuited a 
likely setup for her again? She’s 
another who’s fascinated by sex 
differences. Oh, yawn! And she 
and Gillyun can’t stand each 
other! 

The Spill was still there. It 
could have been discovered and 
reported. It could have been a 
hdlucination in the first place. 
But it was neither. It was 
there— and it was larger! I knelt 
beside it. It was a dark, 
wet-looking brovm now, 
though, and as I watched, a 
brown wetness slid thinly across 
its surface and crawled toward 
me. I jerked back, startled, but 
the curl wound itself into a 
little puddle. The reflection of 


the overhead lights scribbled 
across it before it stopped 
completely. I smiled at myself. 
“It’s only water,” I told myself 
comfortingly. “Only water 
colored by the Spill!” I reached 
out my hand with the compul- 
sion to sign it again with my 
touch. I hesitated. A Spill. It 
might not be water. It might be 
a substance that would eat my 
hand to the bone. It might be a 
contagion that would decimate 
Town— after / was dead. My 
hand hovered— hesitated— and 
then I touched the Spill firmly. 
There. Mine. Signed Mine with 
my hand print. And my hand 
was signed by the Spill — with 
the semiliquid brownness that 
emphasized every line in my 
hand. Then light came through 
the breach— not a thin pencil of 
light as before, but a blare of it, 
bluish-white and intense like a 
sudden full note from one of 
those archival instruments. But 
this light didn’t squawk off into 
noise as the instruments usually 
did. The noise! Here it followed 
the quick light, overlapping it, 
even, a deep vibrating noise 
that— again my only analogy 
was that concert— the huge, 
cylindrical section that had 
only one note, a deep throb 
that could trick you into 
thinking you had another heart 
beating up against you instead 
of inside you. I had another 
heart right then, too, throbbing 
madly in my throat as I 


136 

scrambled back away from the 
Spill and hastily jumbled the 
junk back across the walk. 

By shift change, my hand 
had dried and I could brush the 
brown off. 

Gillyun arrived. We saluted. 
“Secure,” I reported, extending 
the key. He took it. “Vigi- 
lance,” he yawned. “Well, 
Corolla, my little flower face,” 
he grinned. “You must have 
fascinations of which I know 
nothing!” 

“Oh?” I moved to slip past 
him. 

“Not so fast, my pretty,” he 
said, his hand on my arm 
detaining me. “You quite 
caught the fancy of one of the 
Experimentalists at last night’s 
concert. We dorm together. 
Well, same dorm block, any- 
way. He’s in the Math wing. 
Music’s his Secondary. He drove 
us mad last night, alternately 
scratching at that thing he tries 
to make music from, and 
singing your praises. Neither 
performance could be called 
musical. He asked me to tell 
you he’d be by Memory Arch 
this evening if you’d like to 
hear what he’s done with your 
idea.” 

“Thank you for the mes- 
sage,” I said neutrally. 

He sighed and shook my arm 
a little before he released me. 
“Such an outrush of emotion,” 
he mocked. “Now if it were 
that Sepal—” 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

“Vigilance,” I said, and 
slipped past him. He followed 
closely behind me Jilong the 
walk, though his sector was the 
other way. 

“Such unsuspected talents,” 
he said, breathily, against the 
back of my neck. “Though I 
suppose you former Logikids 
are full of unplumbed depths.” 
I flicked my feet just enough to 
interrupt the walking rhythm, 
and he stumbled a step or so on 
the backs of my heels. He 
grabbed my shoulder, halting 
me to steady himself. “Never- 
theless, who would have sus- 
pected musical talent in a 
Green?” 

I looked back at him and 
something in my look turned 
him off. He flushed slightly 
above his cheek whiskers and 
let go of me. His eyes fell. 
“Such a grubby-handed Green, 
too!” His grin was full grown 
again. “Vigilance,” he said and 
turned back to his sector. I 
scrubbed my hand down my 
side £^ain. It was grubby. But I 
had turned him off! 

The Experimentalist was 
there by Memory Arch when 
Sepal and I arrived that evening. 
Sepal’s welcome expanded as it 
always does in a m^e presence, 
and quite overshadowed me. 
But this time the male only 
flicked his teeth at her and 
turned to me. Sepal’s astonish- 
ment amused me, and I was 
smiling as she turned away with 


THRUMTHING AND OUT 


137 


a swish of ruffles. I cleared my 
face when I realized that the 
fellow was looking at me. 

“Look!” he said hastily, 
taking my elbow and steering 
me to a narrow path leading 
back to Archives. His other 
hand clutched the instrument 
that had to trail behind him 
because of the narrowness. 
“Look!” He pushed me down 
to sit on the curve of a concrete 
sculpture. “I’ve been working 
unsanely, unsanely. I think I’m 
getting it— only— well, look!” 
And he cradled the instrument 
across himself and began to 
strum and to hum along with it. 
He deepened the pulse of the 
rhythm, and I found myself 
flicking my toe to its insistence. 

“Look!” he said, “My 
fingertips are gone and I can’t 
get a melody, but look—” 

Very softly he sang and the 
strums changed to cradle the 
melody and surround the words 
£ind underline the rhythm. It 
made a Thing out of that 
worn-out old song everyone 
sings at Sings— 

I am my love’s and she is mine. 

She causes all my life to shine. 

She has my heart— we’ll never part. 
For she is mine— is mine— is mine— 

“It goes,” I admitted to him. 

“It goes.” A breathy gust of 
laughter flicked. “Yes, it goes, 
but look! My fingertips are 
bleeding and I can’t get a 
melody.” 

“Can’t you use something to 


strum with until your fingers 
get well?” I asked. “And do 
you need a melody? Singers 
carry a melody. The tapes carry 
melodies. Why can’t you go on 
and just— strum around the 
melody?” I 

“Just strum.” Again the 
breathy, brief laugh. “With j 

something else—” ! 

“Yes,” I said. I flicked 
mentally over myself, then I , | 
flexed the metal clip on one of ; 

my shoes and took it off. 
“Here, use this.” 

He did and it sounded the 
same to me, but he choked over 
“resonance” and “vibrancy”? 
and looked at me as though I 
were programmed for miracles. 

“Might as well take the j 

other, too.” I bent to shut out I 

the sight of his slightly 
lack-minded, open-mouthed 
wonderment. I took off the 
other clip, and he took it so 
eagerly that he pinched my 
finger against it. 

“Look!” he said, licking his 
lips. Then he firmed his mouth 
and straightened himself. “Real- 
ly,” he grinned, “I’m not 
usually so besotted, but you 
keep answering questions that 
have no answers. Bet you were 
a Logikid.” 

“Still am,” I grinned back at 
him. “You don’t get cured of it 
and I guess you automatically 
use the skills—” 

“But a Logikid and— and a 
Green!” he wondered. 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


138 

“It’s my family,” I said, 
flushing, and hating myself for 
flushing. “It was only natur- 
al—” Then suddenly I was very 
much in earnest. “Do you know 
of anything else that would be 
more-so?” I asked him. “Some- 
thing really and truly more-so?” 

. “Well, we — ” his eyes 
wavered away from mine. 
“More-so is what you hardly 
can find any more of any more. 
Well, anyway sometimes I think 
we Experimentalists are an 
unsane bunch trying to make 
music when zdl we have to do to 
get music is to flick a tape. But 
tapes are all the same! All the 
same! All so predictable that no 
matter which you play, you can 
predict it down to the last 
worn-out ending. We had a 
game. Given the first three 
notes, write the whole— and we 
could. So we thought maybe if 
we could go back to instru- 
ments. If we could make 
unprogrammed music. One time 
they must have. Someone must 
have programmed all our music 
once— anew. So I took this from 
a picture— an instrument on one 
of the tapes that are destructing 
now of age and disuse. And I 
made this— this replica. Only 
how can you tell? Look. It has 
these things sticking out at the 
end. Do they have a function or 
are they just ornamental? And 
look. There’s a hole into the 
box under the strings— well, 
wires, but they’re called strings. 


Or should they be string? What 
kind? Of what? But the hole. 
Does it have to be? Does the 
shape of it have anything to 
do?— look, this design around 
the edge. Does it function? Or 
is it decoration? It’s unsane. It 
really is.” He slumped on his 
segment of the sculpture. 

“But more-so?” I asked. 

“But more-so?” His laughed 
jerked. “Absorbing. Absorb- 
ing.” 

“Did the picture show the 
wires going to the knobs?” I 
asked. “There are as many 
knobs as wires.” 

“Strings,” he said. “It wasn’t 
very plain.” He frowned at the 
insteument. 

“What do you call it?” I 
asked. “And yourself.” 

“Oh. Oh, well. I’m Stem, of 
Music,” he said. “And you?” 

“Corolla,” I said, ‘‘of the 
Greens. ” 

His instinct was a little too 
fast for his manners, this time. 
Now it was that he ritually 
shrank back, his palm flat to me 
for a moment— all a harlcback to 
when Greenclads used to be 
almost outcasts because their 
nearness to a Breach or a Spill 
might pass contamination on to 
anyone they touched. Town 
people used to look at Greens 
half in admiration, half in 
terror. To work so close to 
destruction! It brought the 
thought of death too close! 
Perhaps only a breath, a touch 


THRUMTHING AND OUT 

away! The ritual is dying out, 
exhausted by time and absence 
of emergency; but, as now, it 
crops out in unexpected places. 
My chest suddenly clenched 
again, remembering the unre- 
ported Breach— the Breach, not 
only of Town, but of the sacred 
trust of the Greens. 

“I blew up a copy of the 
picture,” said Stem. “If you’d 
care to come to Archives.” He 
was hurrying me along the 
narrow pathway. 

“But—” I protested, then 
shrugged and went along. 

Archives was shadowy and a 
little frightening after hours. 
Stem lead me expertly among 
display cases and up stairs and 
around and around, up and 
dovm spirals of clanging steps, 
before we finally emerged into 
a cluttered room— whether up- 
stairs or down, I couldn’t tell. 
We bent together over the 
grainy, grey enlargement. 

“They connect,” I said. 
“Here, hold the print up. Now 
look at it quickly. Just a fast 
glance. See? Each line termin- 
ates at a knob. And the knob is 
flat as though to fit— to fit a 
finger and thumb. Turn to 
loosen or turn to tighten. Stem, 
when you change your left 
hand on the strings, the sound 
changes.” 

“There’s a correlation be- 
tween string length and the rate 
of vibration, so the tone— math- 
ematically— that’s why this—” 


139 

“Then those knobs could 
change the length or the 
correlation much more that just 
a touch. To make them all 
match. I mean make regular 
intervals up and down— for 
music—” 

His mouth was slightly open 
again as he drank in my words, 
his face bemused. I flushed and 
moved uneasily. “What do you 
call it?” I looked down and 
flicked my finger across the 
strings. The thrum aroused him, 

“Call it. Oh-oh, call it.” He 
blinked and grinned. “I haven’t 
called it yet, but I’ll think of 
thrumthing!” We winced to- 
gether and laughed together— 
not knowing we had just added 
a new word to the language! 

Then he was hovering back 
over his papers. “Look, where 
shall I start? Let’s see. 
Mathematically this first 
string—” 

I was gone, as far as he was 
concerned. I waited impatiently 
for a few minutes with no 
sound in all of Archives except 
the scurry of his pencil and an 
irregular mumble from him. 
Finally I said, “I think I’ll go 
back to Memory Arch.” No 
reply. “I’m going back,” I said 
loudly. 

“Back?” He didn’t even look 
up. “Sure. Go back,” 

Well! I caught myself flounc- 
ing out as Sepal might have, but 
unflounced in a hurry in the 
eeriness of the shadowy halls of 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


140 

Archives. I scurried up and 
down and dizzily around and 
around until I had passed the 
same bent stair-support three 
times, twice going up and once 
going down. I huddled down on 
a step and considered. I knew I 
couldn’t find Stem again. I had 
two choices. Keep on looking 
for the exit or just sit and wait 
to be found. In the morning. 
Late for Duty. Hungry, tired, 
and, most annoying, in growing 
need of a Services room. 

That was the deciding factor. 
I got up and clattered down to 
the landing. No more stairs and 
halls for me. Doors, after this. 

Some doors opened reluc- 
tantly. Twice ghostly things 
wound around my face as I 
went through creaky doors. 
Then doors began to open more 
readily and, oh, joy! finally a 
green-rimmed Services Room 
door! 

When I came out, I looked 
around me with a much more 
relaxed feeling. Now, where in 
Archives was I? I hadn ’t been in 
the building very often since 
Customs and Traditions classes 
in Early School. This room was 
tapes, I peered at a shelf sign. 
“Steel— Internal Stresses—” 

The next room was a viewing 
room, dust deep on the 
adult-sized seats and on the 
floor. The next, an exhibition 
hall, the exhibits wall lined with 
small models to be projected. I 
picked up one— a tiny globe 


with details too small for me to 
discern. I balanced it thought- 
fully in my hand. Why not? It 
was after hours, but who’d 
care? Who came to Archives 
after hours except unsanities 
like Stem and Me? It would be 
Different to do and Differents 
are as hard to come by as 
more-so’s. 

I went back to the projec- 
tion room and, blowing the 
dust off the projector, I 
inserted the exhibit and flipped 
the switch I heard a whirr and 
click and a disgruntled clank or 
two from the projector while I 
dusted a chair and sat down. 
Light lanced through the 
darkness. 

And God said— the voice 
filled the room— Let the earth 
bring 

forth grass, the herb yielding 
seed, and the fruit tree yielding 
fruit after his kind, whose 
seed is in itself, upon the earth 
and it was so. 

The screen was alive with— 
things. They were illustrating 
the words— grass, herbs, seeds, 
trees— all those unsense words— 
but beautiful! beautiful! 

And the earth brought forth 
grass and herb yielding seed 
after 

his kind and the tree yielding 
fruit whose seed was in itself, 
after his kind: and God saw - 
that it was good. 

And again the screen filled 
with blueness all above and 


THRUMTHING AND OUT 

greenness— all below— and bril- 
liant colors— scattered among— 
fastened to green— or fluttering 
slowly or darting swiftly in the 
blueness. What was it? Where 
was it? When was it? The voice 
again— 

And God said. Behold, I 
have given you every herb 
bearing seed 

which is upon the face of all 
the earth and every tree in the 
which 

is the fruit of a tree yielding 
seed: to you it shall be for 
meat. 

Again the pictures, this time 
with animals moving among the 
green— and with blue flowing 
across the screen between 
brown— I scrambled to the 
projector. I fumbled the reverse 
switch, ignoring the mute. The 
projector squawked backwards 
to— 6c for 7nea^— then I slowed 
it, stepping it dovm far past 
normal. The projection crept 
and crept until the blue flowed 
between brown. I flicked the 
stop button. There was a curl of 
blue, wrapped around a mound 
of brown. If you saw the blue 
as brown, too, and reduced the 
size of the mound, there it was! 
My Breach— my Spill! Then all 
that blue flowing was water— all 
the brown was— was— I groped 
for an applicable word from the 
voice, earth. That’s what the 
voice had said. Upon the Earth. 
The brown of my Spill was 
earth, but my water was 


141 

different. It was brown. And all 
those up-springing green things 
were anchored in earth, growing 
up towards the blue that 
couldn’t be water because it 
was so up. All those grass and 
herbs and trees! 

Where was this? When was 
it? I scrambled back to the 
exhibits room. With difficulty I 
deciphered the ornate script 
above the exhibits shelves. ERE- 
HISTORY I-IN THE BEGIN- 
NING-GOD. 

Oh. I felt something up- 
springing and bright drain out 
of an essential part of me. I 
remembered. From Early 
School. Nothing more-so at all. 
They don’t bring the classes to 
Archives any more. No one 
seems to care how things 
started. Things are. Things have 
been Things will be. Always no 
change. A shudder shook me. 
Forever and ever the same? 

The other theories. The Big 
Bang— the— but wait. This Be- 
ginning couldn’t be for Town. 
Where was the earth from 
which things sprang? The 
imiform turf that is everywhere 
underfoot outside the buildings 
isn’t brown. Colors change 
according to some time 
schedule programmed with 
Town. And, reaching back to 
Early School, those up-reaching 
green things grew. They 
changed and yielded seed and 
fruit and— where did they go? 
Nothing grows in our turf. 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


142 

I started slowly back to 
Dorm. Early School was so long 
ago, especially with all the 
repetition of the days between, 
the days between, the days— My 
steps quickened with the words 
until I was running down the 
grey corridors, heeiring my feet 
repeat and repeat and repeat— 
the days between, the days 
between, past the grey blur of 
closed doors and the grey blur 
of past days. 

I slid out of the side door 
and heard it sigh shut behind 
me. I looked up at the arching 
glow overhead. At least I’ve 
been told it arches— on duty 
I’ve seen— 

Suddenly such a pang struck 
me that I thought I had actually 
been wounded! What was Out? 
Why was In ? 

My mind was dissolving 
against the idea of anything 
being Out. How could there not 
be encircling walls? What could 
possibly be where nothing was? 
Never in my life had I felt so 
near to becoming unsane. And 
then my staggering mind caught 
on the Spill. And the wet curl. 
And I relaxed down to my 
toenails. Of course. There was 
something Out. And I rested 
myself against the memory of 
my hand print in the Spill— in 
the Earth. 

As shift followed shift, I 
kept my secret of the Spill. 
Each duty period I knelt at 
least once before the Earth as 


before an altar— and it was as 
huge and mysterious and 
satisfyingly unsatisfying to me 
as the altar in the Assembly in 
the center of Town where 
people used to crowd on their 
traditional worship days and 
observe their various rituals. We 
used to— our family— on a 
Twenty -fourth. I only remem- 
ber a Twenty-fourth and A 
Child Is Born and— why, yes! 
On Earth as it is— on Earthl 
Isn’t that an odd worship? 

Sometimes the Spill was 
flooded with light. Sometimes 
the water ran. And sometimes it 
was just a brown Spill under the 
lights. 

Stem had redesigned the 
Strumthing— such a silly name I 
told him and told him— so the 
knobs controlled the tension of 
the strings and, with the 
resultant orderly progression of 
the tones, he had learned to 
play it most eimazingly well, so 
much so that Production called 
him in and began to issue 
reproductions. The new More- 
so for the moment was 
Strumthings and trying to write 
words to go with the awkward, 
unprogrammed tunes, or rather, 
collections of notes everyone 
was becoming passionate about. 

Stem even had one he called 
Out, though no one liked it 
because it sounded so weird and 
no one likes to think of Out. He 
blamed me. He wrote the thing 
after I told him about the 


THRUMTHING AND OUT 

projection. He had learned to 
play odd half-steps with the 
notes, and they made this tune 
unresolved and as though it 
ended with a question mark, 
and somehow it fitted the Out 
feeling. 

He remembered the projec- 
tion. “All that blue and green 
and earth is Out,” he said. “We 
had that in Middle School. I 
guess they dropped it just 
before your age group got to 
that level— or were you in 
Logikid classes by then?” 

“Out?” My stomach curled 
with the thought. “But Spills 
are when Out comes in. How 
can blue and green and growing 
be where such disastrous Spills 
come from?” 

“Don’t ask me,” said Stem. 
“It must have changed. God 
saw it was good. Once, 
anyway.” 

“God?” I asked. 

“The Beginning,” he said. 
“They said God meant the 
Beginning in this theory.” 

“But if God saw and 
talked—” I started. “Maybe 
God was before the Beginning. 
A separate—” 

“You Logikids never can 
simply accept,” said Stem, 
flicking his fingers over the 
strings. 

“If Out was good once, 
something happened to it. It 
stopped being good. That’s why 
there’s Town and Out. I don’t 
think they ever told us why.” 


143 

He made the weird sorrowing 
sounds on the strings and half 
sang, half said. 

Where is the blue? 

Where is the green? 

Where is the growing? 

Out. 

Out in the bad. 

Out in the death, 

Out in the poison— 

Out. 

“But,” I protested. “It’s not 
all—” I caught my lower lip 
between my teeth. 

“All what?” Stem’s eyes 
were sharp. 

“All the same length lines,” I 
said casually. “Only one word 
in a line? Awkward program- 
ming.” 

He didn’t quite accept my 
glib explanation, but he was 
willing to be drawn into a safe 
argument. “That’s the whole 
idea. Anything except what 
sounds programmed—” 

Next duty period, as I knelt 
by the Spill, I suddenly leaned 
forward and pushed my hand 
into the featureless heap. And 
pushed. And pushed, balancing 
myself with my other hand as I 
watched my knuckles, then my 
wrist, then my forearm disap- 
pear into the earth. Then my 
out-of-sight fingers moved in 
nothing. The nothing of Out. I 
held my breath. I felt some- 
thing brush across my palm. I 
clenched my fist and yanked it 


iiu 

back through the earth, feeling 
something ripping away as I 
pulled, and something staying. I 
opened my fingers slowly. My 
palm was speckled with black. 
What was this I had brought 
into Town from Out? I turned 
my hand and pressed it to the 
earth firmly. Then my palm was 
cleansed of the black speckles. I 
smoothed the Spill so the 
speckles were out of sight and 
signed it again with my palm. 

Next day I couldn’t reach 
my palm print. The Spill had 
enlarged so much I couldn ’t 
reach across it, though I could 
still see the mark of my hand. 
The increase had nudged in 
under it. And the Spill was wet 
again, so much so that the 
water was reaching the edge of 
the catwalk and dripping down 
into the shadowy endlessness 
beneath me! I looked at it with 
a slump of despair. How could I 
possibly conceal it any longer? I 
glanced at my duty watch. Oh, 
no! Frantically I shuffled past 
the concealing clutter and, 
running as fast and as soundless- 
ly as I could, arrived at the 
change point barely before 
Gillyun. My still-panting breath 
jerked the word as I said, 
“Secure.” 

“Vigilance,” he replied. 
“Say, you’ve been running! Or 
is it your ungovernable passion 
for me—” 

“I was delayed,” I said 
neutrally. “I had to hurry.” 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

“Delayed?” He looked at me 
in amazement, then grinned 
incredulously. “You mean you 
actually patrol? You walk the 
course? You actually cover the 
area? ” 

It was my turn for astonish- 
ment. “Of course! It’s our 
duty ! ” 

“Duty!” He pouted it 
disgustedly off his mouth. 
“Foul footsteps! Anyone who 
has any know at all— well, my 
roost isn’t ten yards from here. 
My tapes, my nibbles, my 
sleeping place— more-so ! But 
more-so! And, I might add, my 
brainless Logikid— not always 
lonely is my roost. If you 
would deal a different hand, 
maybe even you—” 

“Dereliction of duty!” I 
gulped, my face stiff with the 
shock. “You-” 

“Me? Listen, chucklehead, 
you’re the one out of step. Go 
on! Try to find the duty officer 
to report me. Nothing’s ever 
happened and nothing ever will. 
Just try to find the guy! And if 
he’s slightly missing, you might 
try asking Sepal. I hear that 
they—” 

I turned on my heel and left, 
not quite sure my knees would 
bend the right direction. I 
couldn’t grasp what I’d heard. 
How could it be that Greens 
could be so lax— and if it 
weren’t true? It couldn’t be 
true. How could Gillyun joke 
about such a subject? How 


THRUMTHING AND OUT . 

could he so dishonor—? Of 
course it wasn’t true. But 
Sepal? She wasn’t a Green. How 
could she possibly come into 
the area? Duty officer? No one 
watching? No one but me? 
What if there was a Breach— a 
Spill— and it went unreported? 

Oh, but—! 

I held my face stiffly in 
front of the seething upset 
inside me until I was almost 
back to Dorm. Then a sharp, 
silver glimpse of Memory Arch 
across the square broke me. I 
turned blindly into the first 
door that would receive me 
and, folding up on the dim 
stairs, I wept into my lap until I 
felt tears warmly wet on my 
knees clear through my clothes. 

Finally outside sounds reach- 
ed me again, and my tears 
stopped. I drew my breath 
raggedly. Someone was coming 
down the steps to the door 
beyond me. I pressed myself 
against the wall, my face turned 
away. 

“Corolla?” I didn’t want to 
recognize the voice. “Corolla!” 
Stem folded up on the step 
beside me. “Corolla?” I felt his 
hand hesitate on my shoulder. 

Well, my tears hadn’t all 
been spent, because they 
flowed copiously as I practical- 
ly threw myself upon Stem. 
One of my hands banged 
against the Strumthing he had 
slung across his back by some 
strap arrangement. 


145 

Finally I got vocal and 
poured out the incredible story 
of Gillyun while Stem and I 
shredded a number of tissues 
trying to keep my face dry. 
Then we sat silently for a 
moment on the steps. 

“It could be true,” said 
Stem. “Things— things in gen- 
eral seem to be wobbling as if 
they were thinking of stopping. 
Something is running down. 
Sometimes I truly believe that 
we could all just sit for a week, 
not taking any duty at all, and 
it wouldn’t matter a whit to 
Town. That’s why—” He moved 
restlessly, shifting his Thrum- 
thing. I heard its soft thrum in 
the shadowy stillness. 

“But, on the other hand — ” 
he stood up briskly and helped 
me to my feet. “That Gillyun ’s 
a thoroughgoing bad piece of 
news. Maybe only he and a 
couple of others like him are 
laxing. As long as Town has 
Greens like you, no Breach or 
Spill can sneak up on us 
unheralded!” 

I wailed and fled, my tears 
gushing again, leaving behind 
me Stem and his astonishment. 

For a long time I didn’t go 
near my Spill. I took my duty, 
performed it, turned over the 
key correctly and didn’t allow 
my thoughts to deviate, even 
off duty. I spent much of my 
off-duty with Stem and the 
other Experimentalists, listen- 


146 

ing to all the odd sounds they 
were bringing forth in the name 
of music. And some of it was 
surprisingly good, especially if 
you could hear willingly the far 
side of the programmed. 

But one evening in the tiny 
room they fancied for its 
acoustics, Stem, in the unpat- 
terned melange of sounds and 
rhythms, began softly on his 
Strumthing. 

Where Is the blue? 

Where is the green? 

Where is the growing? 

J Out! 

And, quite suddenly, I 
couldn’t bear it. I left the tight 
cacophony of the little room in 
Archives and started aimlessly 
back to Dorm. I went under 
Memory Arch— quickly, eyes 
averted— then slowed down and 
stopped at the door of the 
Assembly. I slipped in impul- 
sively. The low murmur of 
voices slowed my steps. One of 
the chapels— no, several— were 
in use. Voices, alone or in 
concert, crossed each other, as 
the sounds of the musical 
instruments had in Archives. 
Why! I thought. People still 
come to Assembly! The same as 
when I was a child! 

I moved soundlessly toward 
candle flames, my feet changing 
directions twice before I reach- 
ed the right place and sat down 
softly in the same seat I used to 
sit in so long ago. When I was 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

Home. When Dorm was a life 
too far ahead for anything but 
dreaming. When A Child Is 
Borii. When Mother— I clenched 
my meriiory tightly around 
Mother. Only by never looking 
had I been able to keep her 
unchanged. I held closely the 
memory of her going to Clinic, 
smiling her wasted smile, 
waving her ghostly hand, 
promising to be back. But she 
never came. And when the 
official notice came, I tore it 
into as many tiny pieces as 
possible. “Name removed from 
population rolls. Reason: 
Death.” Bitterly I knew I’d 
never really know. Whether 
she had died, or had been 
“removed.” Stories go around 
about Clinic— and population 
rolls. Father had gone long 
before I knew questions could 
be asked— that were never 
answered. I hadn’t asked about 
Mother. She was gone. 

But now I could remember 
all of the “on earth” because 
the tiny group of people 
between irie and the candles 
were chanting it softly. I slid to 
my knees and let memory clasp 
my hands and bow my head, 
but I had no voice for the 
words until Amen. 

Next duty period, I made 
my first round as I always had. 
When time came for the seconcT 
one, I wiggled and squirmed 
around and among the clutter 
hiding my Spill. I caught my 


THRUMTHING AND OUT 

breath in a half scream. What 
was wrong with my Spill? It 
was big! It had spread and 
spread! But that wasn’t the 
terror of it! A part of the wall 
had broken off and lay across' 
an opening as wide as the length 
of my arm. An opening half 
filled with earth, and through 
which light flooded strong and 
bright— casting shadows of the 
hand-high green that dotted the 
brown Spill. Green reaching 
up— reaching up— growing? the 
—the green— my hand dotted 
with black specks from my 
clutching Out. Seed of its 
kind— I slid to my knees and, 
creeping gently forward, softly 
touched the green. And it was 
good! 

I thought my heart would 
burst with wonder. What could 
I do? How could I stand it, 
alone? But — what if it was death 
growing hand-high and green? 
What would happen now? 
Would the green get bigger or 
taller or wider or— or— ? 

That night Stem and I sat by 
the base of Memory Arch. He 
had been strumming. Now he 
spoke. “I’ve been wondering 
about making these strings of 
different material. I wonder—” 

“Stem,” I clasped my hands 
tightly palm to palm between 
my knees. I was going to have 
to give away what was Mine. 
“Stem, I have some green 
growing in the earth.” 


147 

“You have what?” Stem’s 
mouth slacked open. 

“I have an unreported Spill 
in Section LL. I got seeds from 
Out.” I felt a throb inside me. 
Instead of emptying by giving 
Mine away, I was filling! I was 
growing! “I have green growing 
in the earth of the Spill.” 

“You have—” His eyes 
widened and his hand flipped in 
the old gesture against the 
Greens. “You’ve flipped!” 

“Maybe so, but I still have 
it.” I jerked to my feet. “Come, 
I’ll show you.” 

“Me? In Green area—” he 
protested. 

“I go fo Archives,” I said, as 
though it were anything like. 
Then I cried, “Oh, Stem, it’s 
true! It’s true! It’s growing all 
green and cool and the light 
from Out casts Ic shadows—” 

The height frightened Stem. 
The tightening of his hand on 
mine as we stepped out of the 
elevator told . me so. My 
astonishment faded when I 
remembered my first few times 
up the tiny, fragile-seeming 
catwalks and ladders that 
looked penciled across the 
immensity of the Wall. But I 
had as little softness for him 
now as they had had for me 
then. 

“Watch my shoulders,” I 
said. “Don’t look anywhere but 
at my shouldefs.” And I led 
him to the cluttered corner. He 
drew a deep breath when we 


148 


THRUMTHING AND OUT 


slid behind a huge container 
and lost the vastness around us. 
He leaned weakly against this 
shelter. “It’s— it’s different,” he 
said, his shaking voice trying to 
fill our silence. “I mean the 
Wall.” His short breathy laugh 
wavered. “It changes color.” 

“Yes,” I said. “And my Spill 
is right at the color change.” I 
dragged him around the last of 
the clutter— and waited for his 
reaction 

I had forgotten— forgotten 
how long it had taken me to be 
able to halfway accept the Spill 
and the earth and even the 
green— and the impact of it on 
Stem came as a terrifying 
surprise. He wasn’t even used to 
the Wall— or being near it, let 
alone being able to accept a 
Spill without automatic panic. 
All the old, persistent teachings 
that flung his hand up 
protectively against me as a 
Green flooded back to him 
now, and he shrank away from 
me but had to cling, too, to the 
only familiarity in the whole 
experience. 

“Oh, Stem!” I used both of 
my hands to cover his white, 
drawn face and his frantic eyes. 
“I’m sorry! I didn’t even think! 
Oh, Stem!” I turned his shaken 
body away from the Spill and 
back toward the walk. He was 
so nearly in a state of collapse 
that for a minute I was afraid I 
couldn’t keep him from doub- 
ling over the guard rail and 


sliding down into the nothing- 
ness below. 

I finally blindfolded him 
with my scarf and got him back 
to the elevators and down the 
elevators. Then, blindly stagger- 
ing, freed of my scarf, he fled 
slowly from me through a 
green-rimmed Services door. 

It was a long time before 
Stem could talk about the Spill, 
even uncomfortably. He would 
start me talking about it, but 
beads of sweat would cluster 
above his eyebrows and his 
breath would be ragged, his 
hands clenched. Finally, 
though, he was able to talk 
about the brown, and the green 
and the growing almost as easily 
as I could, and he could listen 
with no great discomfort. So we 
talked— and speculated and 
wondered. 

“It’s been at least fifty 
years,” he began one evening, 
his fingers busy with finding 
notes on his Thrumthing. 

“Since what?” I asked, 
trying to get a ting from the 
little metal discs looped by cord 
on my thumbs and forefingers. 
Stem thinks they’re just rings— 
ornaments— but only dancers in 
the old pictures have them on. I 
think they’re instruments of 
some sort. 

“Since the last reported 
Breach,” said Stem. “At least 
the last one I’ve been able to 
find. It was on lower GF at the 
very bottom. Water ran for 


THRUMTHING AND OUT 

several days until they sealed 
the Breach. The water tested 
neutral— just water.” 

“How old is Town?” I asked, 
suddenly wondering. , 

“Old?” Stem’s eyebrow lift- 
ed. Then he called across the 
noise and confusion of the 
room. “Hi, Root! How old is 
Town.” 

“Who knows?” Root whack- 
ed his small cylinder vigorously. 
It split open with a whap and 
laughter lapped around the 
room. Root poked his stick into 
the cylinder and lifted it up. 
“Oh, weU!” he shrugged. “How 
old from what? When Town 
began, time started again. 
Before Town—” He twirled the 
cylinder reflectively. “Can’t 
remember my prehistory. 
Hmm— before Tovm— Oh, yes! 
Time was measured from the 
birth— from someone’s birth—” 

“Birth,” I said thoughtfully. 
“Bom. , A Child is born-” 
Warmness crept in above my 
diaphragm. Maybe our worship 
%yas for the one who started 
time— before Town. I had been 
back to Assembly several times 
but hadn’t yet found the time 
pattern of worship. I must go 
again— 

“Why?” asked Root, then 
turned away to his broken 
instrument. 

“Why?” asked Stem. 

“Why?” My mind scrambled 
back to our conversation. “Oh, 
I wondered when Out became 


149 

bad. It must have been when 
Town began— or Town must 
have begun then—” 

“Oh, I found a poem about 
that, on one of the lyric tapes. 
Can’t remember word for word, 
but in essence it said, ‘We need 
more room for garbage— throw 
the people out’— I found out 
‘garbage’ means uncycled dis- 
cards—” 

“Throw the people Out,” I 
said reflectively, “Or In.” 

“So either there haven’t 
been any Breaches,” said Stem 
as he tightened one of my metal 
discs, “Or Gillyun is right and 
Breaches are not being re- 
ported. Or it doesn’t ’:.iatter any 
more if there are Brea hes— ” 

“Breaches?” An owlish face 
popped up over Stem’s shoul- 
der. “The accepted pronuncia- 
tion is ‘britches’ and they were 
the forerunners of our hosen— ” 

The face went away and 
Stem and I laughed. Then I 
sobered. “We’ve got to be more 
careful if we’re to keep the Spill 
My Spill.” 

“Then you stUl haven’t 
told—” Stem was sober. 

“No,” I said. “No, I haven’t 
told.” 

Sometimes I hurried to the 
SpUl, fearing it would be gone. 
Sometimes I went reluctantly, 
afraid it might still be there. 
But I ended up making my 
rounds at breakneck speed and 
spending the rest of the time 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


150 

watching the green— and the 
growing. I was fascinated by 
knobs developing among the 
green— knobs that got bigger 
and bigger. And then one day 
on one growing thing— plant, I 
mean, Stem found out the 
generic term for me— there was 
a crumple of white! A knob had 
split and folded back. I crept on 
my stomach across the brown 
until my nose almost touched 
the white. The crumple was 
smoothing out. Deep inside it 
was yellow. The second day the 
crumple had stiffened into 
white rays all around the 
yellow, and another crumple 
was showing farther up the 
plant. 

That night I told Stem and 
he strummed thoughtfully a 
moment. Then he said, “I wish 
I could tell Bract. He’s 
passionate about growing 
things. He found some tapes 
recently that are called stop- 
action, and he’s almost inco- 
herent. He’s even prating about 
getting seed exhibits out of 
stasis in Archives and starting 
his own growing. I don’t 
suppose—” 

“No,” I said, flushing. 
“Because then I’d have to 
report and explain the delay — ” 

“He wouldn’t tell-” 

“If he’s incoherent over a 
tape, what would he do if he 
saw for real?” I closed the 
discussion. 

Gillyun was getting more 


and more insistent. Almost 
every day I had to evade his 
reaching hands. 

“Foul footsteps!” he scowl- 
ed once. “You don’t dodge 
Stem! You don’t mind his 
touching you!” 

“I don’t even notice it,” I 
said cooly. “And neither does 
Stem.” 

“Stupid Stem!” he said. I 
only looked past his ear, and he 
got redder and redder and 
finally flung away from me 
blindly, stumbling against the 
guard rail, straightening and 
leaving without even the cere- 
monial exchange of “secured” 
and “vigilance.” 

Finally every plant on the 
Spill was covered with the 
unfolded white. And sometimes 
there was air moving from the 
Breach, and sometimes there 
were small living things with 
wings— but not the bright wings 
of the Beginning, but noisy 
little wings. The creatures 
walked into the— the white— oh, 
if only I dared ask Bract!— and 
walked around and around 
then went away again through 
the Breach. 

Then there came the time 
when I sat there, so full of 
happiness, so bursting with 
delight over my Spill that I was 
saying aloud to myself, ^T’ll 
have to tell! I’ll have to 
show — !” And it happened! 

“Tell who?” I leaped convul- 
sively and whirled. 


THRUMTHING AND OUT 


151 


There was Gillyun! I glanced 
frantically at my watch. Past 
change time! I scrambled 
toward Gillyun, hoping he’d 
back away in front of me and 
back around that container. But 
he didn’t. He dodged past me 
and tromped out into my Spill, 
his blind feet smashing a plant. 

“Well, well! What have we 
here?” he mocked. “So you 
have your little roost, too! So 
shocked because I admitted I 
didn’t waste time and energy 
looking for something that will 
never — ” 

He broke off and looked at 
the Spill. He clomped over to 
the Wall. He bent toward the 
Breach. For a long, quiet 
moment everything was so still 
that I could hear one of the 
creatures in a white— 

Then Gillyun was stumbling 
back. “A Breach!” His voice 
was horrified and choked. “A 
Breach!” He strangled on his 
own indrawn breath. “Report!” 
he babbled. “Report!” He 
fumbled for his belt alarm, the 
color draining from his face. 

“No!” I cried, throwing 
myself against him and grabbing 
his hand. “It doesn’t matter. It 
won’t hurt!” 

“Won’t hurt? A Breach!" His 
voice cracked and he tried to 
yank his hand free. 

“It— it breached a long time 
ago,” I confessed. “I’ve been 
watching it—” 

“And not reporting.” His 


voice laid the statement out flat 
in front of us, his breath 
quieting. “A Green— CoroZZa of 
the Greens. Proud, duty-bound 
Corolla, not reporting a Breach! 
Well, well, this gives to think—” 
He reached back to the Spill 
and crushed his hand over one 
of the whites— small creature 
and all— and yanking up the 
plant, shoved past me back to 
the walk. 

“Too precious to touch, too 
duty-true to lax, too everything 
to track with me at all! But not 
too anything to let a major 
Breach go unreported—” 

“Gillyun, Gillyun-” I fol- 
lowed him, gasping, “don’t tell! 
Don’t tell!” 

“Oh, ho! Gillyun it is now! 
No looking past my left ear! 
Listen to your voice! No flat, 
words only when necessary—” 
Gillyun turned, his back pressed 
to the guard rail, and grinned. 
“Well, maybe not telling will be 
more fun for me. Just what will 
you exchange — ” 

Then he flung up his hand 
and roared! The plant clung to 
his sleeve even as he shook his 
hand frantically with a look of 
pained astonishment on his 
face He flung himself back. 
Away from me. And— over — the 
— rail— 

I crouched down on the 
catwalk and hid my eyes and 
ears against my knees and under 
my wrapping arms, but I heard 
and saw and heard again his 


152 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


horrified cry as he went over 
and down— down— and nothing 
below but the shadowy Nothing 
below— 

Finally life crept back into 
me. I unfolded painfully. I 
looked for the crushed white 
that he had had in his hand. It 
was gone. I found the small 
creature tightly clenched upon 
itself and all unmoving. I took it 
up gently and in a sort of daze 
carried it back to the Spill. I 
put it in a white, but its legs 
had no clinging now and it fell 
out. I crouched there looking at 
it until suddenly realization 
came to me. 

Gillyun was gone! Because 
of me, he was gone! He had 
fallen down— down — I shudder- 
ed. Then coldness tightened on 
my insides. Because of me the 
population roll had been 
altered. Without permission! I 
had no right to alter the roll! 
What would they do to me? To 
Clinic? To Removal? To the 
Cycler to be recycled?— And , 
when they found him and 
traced back to where he had 
fallen— what would they do to 
me for dereliction of duty? Not 
only altering the population 
rolls without permission but 
not reporting a major Breach—! 
What did they do? In all my life 
I’d never known anyone— 

My terror drove me to my 
feet. The looming of unknown 
catastrophes sent me across the 
Spill. The disbelieving revulsion 


against what I had done sent me 
stumbling to the Breach. And 
the wild, lonely despair of the 
utter outcast sent me through 
the Breach — Out! 

At first I just huddled 
blindly, miserably against the 
Wall, waiting for death, because 
Out is death. Then, eyes closed, 
I began to sample Out. Air was 
moving softly over me, a warm, 
good-smelling air. I could hear 
the busy sounds of the little 
creatures around me, and under 
me was a softness— and— my 
eyes flipped open. Surely under 
me was wetness! I looked. I was 
sitting on the edge of a flowing 
water, so close to it that I was 
crumpling one earth edge and 
slowly sliding into the wetness. 
As I pushed myself up and 
back, one foot kicked into the 
water and what had been clear 
and beautiful, suddenly swirled 
brown— and beautiful! I watch- 
ed, fascinated, as the brown 
went away and the clear, 
shining blue— Blue? I gathered a 
handful of water and searched 
it before it dripped off my 
elbows. It wasn’t blue! I looked 
at the stream. Blue— yet the 
under was brown. 

And then my head lifted and 
I looked up and up— forever! 
Forever! No shadows of the 
Over-wall— up into blue and 
blue and blue! Until my neck 
was tired, until billows of 
greying whiteness swept across 
the blue, I looked at it. Then 


THRXJMTHING AND OUT 

when the blue was gone, I 
looked down at the flowing 
water. Not blue. The water and 
the above had been speaking 
blue together — 

Now like an explosion, Out 
changed! The air was hot and 
twisty and then suddenly cold 
and heavy. The above was 
billowing grey, then black, then 
split across by brightness, too 
bright for me ^to look. Then the 
roar came that shook me even 
into my bones. Then a flurry of 
pellets hit me and stung. I saw 
them bounce away, white and 
hard, and melt away into wet 
spots. A thin curtain of failing 
wetness swept across me and 
was gone 

I shivered, hugging the Wall 
with my back. What could I do? 
Where could I go? Back In? Oh, 
no! Oh, no! Across the flowing 
water was a wall— a jumbled 
disorderly wall of growing 
things and heaped up earth. 
Maybe among the larger plants 
—but there would be creatures 
among the plants— tiny ones 
that, if you held them in your 
hand, could make you roar and 
fall. If so the tiny ones, what of 
the larger ones? 

Falling water swept across 
me again. Slowly at first, stiff 
with fear, shaken with terror, I 
stood up and tried to leap the 
flowing water, but at that 
moment came the terrifying 
sudden light again; this time the 
explosive rumble came at the 


153 

same split moment, and the 
falling water deluged me. At 
fjrst I couldn't move. Then 
convulsively I turned back to 
the Breach. No! No! Not back 
there! Whirling blindly, I fled 
away from accusation and guilt 
and punishment, toward the 
unknown, so caught up in my 
terror and the tumult that I 
could never after remember 
that flight. 

When next I could think, I 
was crouched against a hard 
outcropping of earth that 
arched over my head. Plants 
waved in front of me and 
prickled against my wet face. I 
moved cautiously away from 
the prickle— and leaped quickly 
back again. I fished under me 
and puUed out a sharp piece of 
plant I had sat on. 

And now darkness was 
flowing in like water. Some 
rheostat somewhere was func- 
tioning. I couldn’t see the 
growing things beyond me. I 
couldn’t see the billowing grey 
and black above. I couldn’t see 
the earth curved over me. I held 
my hands up and waved my 
fingers. I couldn’t see them, 
either! Was I blind? Had the 
down-pouring waters blinded 
me? I touched my eyes 
fearfully— then jerked convul- 
sively as the sudden brightness 
split the darkness. Fear made 
me cry out at the crash that 
followed, but part of my cry 
was relief. I could see! I wasn’t 


154 

blind! There had only been a 
massive power failure. The 
lights were out. 

I can’t possibly count the 
cold, wet, terrified centuries 
that crept over me in the 
darkness there, but sleep found 
me finally, a sleep so exhausted- 
ly heavy that it had no dreams. 

The first consciousness I had 
was cold, and a scurrying of 
some sort of creature across my 
outstretched legs that were too 
stiff and cold to draw up as I 
willed them to. They only 
twitched. And then thirst 
arrived, and hunger. I crept out 
from my shelter. Earth smeared 
me from one end to the other 
and had dried across my face so 
that it felt as though my skin 
were splitting as I moved. 
Painfully I crept to the sound 
of water. When I finally reached 
the flowing, I groped for it with 
my mouth, pulling myself 
forward on my stomach until I 
was elbow-deep in the clear 
coldness. It swirled around my 
arms and left again clouded 
with the earth from me. I didn ’t 
even pause before I put my 
mouth to the water and drank. 
If I had a warning thought at 
all, I pushed it away. If I was to 
die of Out, let me die unthirsty ! 

When finally my thirst was 
quenched, staying my hunger 
for the moment, I slid on out 
into the water that lapped my 
waist as I sat, and washed 
myself clean, hair and all, then I 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

crept out to sit on a fallen plant 
that scratched my legs as I slid 
along it. I sat and shivered and 
huddled until slowly a feeling 
of warmth came to me, and 
light came through the plants. 
The power failure was over. 
Atmosphere was adjusting it- 
self. I let the warmth and the 
light flood over me until 
weariness flooded over me too 
and I curled sideways^ on the 
plant and slept again. 

I awoke to heat and thirst 
and hunger. My eyes didn’t 
want to open to the blare of 
light that roared around me on 
sheets of heat. Atmosphere was 
out of order still! But what 
combination of errors could 
bring such an incandescent light 
to life above the plants? Lights 
are cool! Heating units are 
separate. I sheltered my eyes 
with my crooked arm and 
stumbled into the shadow of 
the plants. In their shelter I 
walked into the flowing water 
ag£dn, and, cupping my hands, 
drank. Quickly I changed my 
scooping place to one above 
me. I didn’t like the taste of the 
water smudged from my earthy 
feet. 

Hunger woke in my stomach 
again. But the halls would be 
closed by now. What time was 
it? The only watch I had was 
my shift watch and it still • 
stubbornly showed Change with 
a wet stain across it. Change? I 
looked around me and laughed. 


THRUMTHING AND OUT 

a quick, short sound of laughter 
that died as I looked around 
again. I backed slowly away — 
away from what? My face felt 
frozen into the last echo of that 
laughter. I was afraid to 
look— anywhere! Afraid to close 
my eyes! There was no hiding 
place. Everything was strange- 
menacing! 

Fear began to fill me, 
weakening my ankles, stiffening 
my knees, squeezing the breath 
out of my lungs, wavering my 
sight until all of Out began to 
spin about me. I turned and, 
shrieking breathily but almost 
soundlessly, I ran. And collided 
and ran. And fell and ran. And 
wrenched my clothes free of 
grabbing things. And staggered 
in the hot light. And crept into 
the wet shadows under things 
until a long, legless beast 
slithered across my scratched, 
bleeding arm and I tripped out 
completely. 

The next thing I could 
remember was lifting my 
dripping, gasping face from the 
flowing water and gulping, 
“Wall! Where is the Wall? Here’s 
the water! Where’s the Wall?! I 
pushed myself upright, my arms 
in the water up to my elbows. 
The water rimmed niy arms, 
swirled around me and moved 
out of sight behind me among 
the plants. Then I saw a thing 
moving in the water— a creature 
that gaped a mouth and drifted 
toward me— a legless beast! 


155 

Again I tripped out, and then I 
was huddled against a hardness 
—and darkness all around me. 
Power failure again? Things 
were coming apart! Wobbling to 
a stop! 

Sounds were around irie. 
Sounds I couldn’t identify, but 
all threatening. Too weary even 
to be moved by fright, I pushed 
back against the heirdness, my 
arms spreading sideways on 
either side. I slid along its 
solidity, trying to push my 
exhausted self into the wall— 
the The Wall! 

Whimpering with urgent 
eagerness, I felt along the 
hardness. The Wall! I had found 
the Wall! Now for the Breach— 

I melted down into a heap of 
complete misery. Out of all 
those miles and miles and miles 
of Wall, where was the Breach? 
Out of aU that blind fleeing 
panic of mine, where had I 
arrived? Maybe this way to the 
Breach? Maybe that way? Or 
maybe— since logic had nothing 
to do with thought any 
more— maybe this wasn’t even 
my Wall. Maybe there were two 
Walls! I had to laugh at such 
wild unreason, but my laughter 
was a sob, and I pressed my 
cheek against the bottom of the 
Wall and cried. 

I remember creeping in the^ 
darkness along the Wall, feeling 
my way, for an endless time, 
then stopping and thinking, “I 
may be going farther and 


156 

farther from the Breach every 
step.” So I started slowly back 
the way I had come, but 
stopped, stricken. What if the 
Breach had been only inches 
away from my groping hand 
when I had turned back? I 
melted into misery again. 
Finally I lifted my head to push 
back the hair that had been 
sucking into my mouth at each 
frightened in-breath, and no- 
ticed far, far up in the darkness, 
tiny lights had come on. Maybe 
the power was coming back on! 
Then I’d be able to see and to 
find the flowing water— Of 
course! The flowing water. I 
hadn’t passed the Breach the 
other way because I hadn’t 
crossed any flowing water. The 
comfort was brief— no flowing 
water that I remembered. I was 
lost, but utterly. 

Then I noticed the light 
brightening all around me so 
that I could see the laciness of 
the plant tops and a light— a big 
light, but strangely soft. And it 
was a cool light, as light should 
be. At least it wasn’t a burning 
Ught like the one that had 
stiffened the skin on my arms 
and legs. I watched the light 
and finally saw that it was 
moving! Slowly— oh, so slowly! 
But up and up, higher and 
higher! How odd! Then air 
began to move past me and 
around me. All the plants began 
to move and make a small 
flowing kind of sound— or 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

maybe the flowing sound made 
them move. But blackness 
swept above me and rolling 
darkness covered up the light. I 
winced back against the Wall 
and began creeping again. 

The bright blare of light 
jabbed the darkness and the 
heavy shaking sound followed. 
Large drops of water hit me 
hard enough to hurt, and I 
heard them splattering on the 
Wall above me. Then, with a 
roar, all the terrifying noise and 
movement and discomfort rush- 
ed down on me again. All I 
could think to do was to keep 
creeping along the Wall so that I 
wouldn’t lose it again. So I 
crept, cold and wet, my hair 
wrapped across my face so 
tightly that I stopped even 
trying to pull it free. 

And I crept and crept, 
wondering if other legless things 
were creeping around me 
unseen. I pushed myself be- 
tween the plants and the Wall, 
knowing only— don’t lose the 
Wall— don’t lose the Wall. Then 
the tumult softened and died. I 
crouched against the Wall and 
clawed my hair back from my 
face. I tasted the earth from my 
hands as they brushed my 
mouth. And something deep 
inside me suddenly giggled and 
poked me inside my ribs and 
said, “Is this more-so! Is this 
ever more-so ! ” 

“More-so!” I sobbed. “M6re- 
so!” I laughed and clenched 


THRUMTHING AND OUT 


157 


both my fists against my mouth 
to keep the laughter from 
turning into screams. 

Then sound began again. Oh, 
no! Not that tumult— not — I 
jerked to my kneesi Listen! Oh, 
listen! 

Where is the green 
Where is the growing? 

Out! 

The Strumthing! The Strum- 
thing! I stumbled toward the 
sound, even in my wild 
astonishment trailing one hand 
along the Wall. 

“Stem!” I shouted— inside— 
but it came out a jolt and a 
gasp. Again I shrieked, “Stem!” 
and the noise came out. I 
scuttled even faster along the 
Wall, and the sound of the 
Strumthing came stronger. 
“Corolla! Corolla!” My name 
echoed and lost itself in the wet 
darkness. < 

“Stem! Stem!” I shrieked 
again and, stumbling forward, 
was seized and held. I jerked 
away but couldn’t jerk free! 

“Cool it, my lovely!” The 
panting words swept across my 
cheek 

“Gillyun!” All my insides 
jerked with shock. “But you’re 
dead! You’re dead!” 

“I will be if we don’t get 
back In!” He dragged me off 
into the darkness. 

“But the Strumthing! ” I 
protested. “I heard the Strum- 
thing!” 


“You better go on hearing it 
until we make it back to the j 
Breach.” Gillyun jerked me ; 
loose from a plant that tangled, 
my feet. “If it stops, that guy’s' 
going to get dead, but for 
sure—” 

My mind stopped thinking. 

It was too much to take in. I let 
myself be jerked along, skim- 
ming the Wall every inch of the 
way, the quick backslap of the 
plants catching and lashing me i 
as though deliberately punish- 
ing me. The water deluged 
down on me. The quick light 
and the crackling rumbles 
shook the soul of me. Then my 
feet splashed in water and ! 

ahead I could see a faint glow | 
against the Wall. The Thrum- i 
thing was only thrumming now. | 
There was no pattern. I was 
pulled and pushed and dragged 
over those miles and miles of 
the last few yards. I must have 
tripped out then because my 
next consciousness was of the 
cupped whiteness bobbing 
across my folded arm and 
against my nose. I was lying 
across my Spill. “I’ll ruin it,” I 
thought dully. “I’ll ruin it.” 
And turned painfully. Then I 
shot upright. “Gillyun! Stem!” 

I gasped. Gillyun was half out 
of the Breach, pulling some- 
thing. I scrambled over and 
grabbed his shoulder. “Gillyun 
-Stem!” 

Gillyun looked back over his 
shoulder. His eyes were closed 


158 

and his face was frozen in a 
mask of frightened concentra- 
tion. “Help!” he gasped. “Help 
me get him in. He’s out. He’s 
Out! I can’t take much—” His 
hands loosened from whatever 
they held, and he slid sideways 
away from the Breach. I 
crowded past him and reached 
out. I groped and found Stem. I 
grabbed hold of whatever I 
could and, with an effort that 
seemed to rip down one thigh 
and up my ribs, I dragged. 

Stem’s arm came. Then his 
shoulder and head. I had his 
other arm and shoulder in sight 
when Gillyun reappeared. He 
took one arm and I the other 
and we got Stem back in. At 
first I thought something had 
happened to his face, but 
Gillyun clawed at it and pulled 
the blindfold off Stem’s eyes. It 
left an odd-looking clean white 
strip across his face. We 
crouched, panting, watching for 
living signs. 

I heard myself whimper 
when Stem’s chest rose convul- 
sively and fell again and his face 
began to twist. I reached out 
and, with the flat of my hand, 
tried to wipe the wet earth off 
his mouth, but I only spread it 
more. Gillyun shoved past me 
and over the body of Stem. 
Astonished, I watched him 
crawl Out again. He was back 
almost immediately, limping on 
one hand and his knees, 
dragging Stem’s Thrum thing 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

along with the other hand. He 
caught my astonished look and 
his eyes shifted. 

“He values it,” he muttered. 
“Water might spoil it.” 

It was not to be believed— 
the rosy light all around, 
unflickering— the warmth— the 
softness — the — the In-ness! We 
were in Gillyun ’s Roost, which, 
I noticed with a twinge of 
relief, was only part of an 
abandoned Service room. He 
had taken out the partition and 
made one room of it and fixed 
up one corner of it. We were 
clean, dry, fed and exhausted. 
How long we’d been there I 
couldn’t tell. I sat up painfully, 
trying to wince away from my 
thigh and ribs. 

We had collapsed to the 
floor after shuddering under the 
shower, clothes and all, to 
cleanse us of Out. The warm, 
drying blast afterwards had 
melted us down to the floor to 
warm sleep. Gillyun ’s eyes were 
open at my first movement. 
Stem slept heavily between us, 
one of his hands tight on the 
Strum thing. 

I crept around to Gillyun, 
dragging my aching side with 
me. I put my hand on his. “Tell 
me,” I whispered. 

His hand turned beneath 
mine and his fingers closed 
gently over mine. “No need to 
whisper,” he said in his familiar 
Gillyun voice. “He’ll sleep. Too 


THRUMTHING AND OUT 

' deep to hear anything except 
maybe his Strumthing!” 

“You fell,” I said, my throat 
catching at the memory. 

“I fell,” he said. “That white 
thing I grabbed out of the Spill 
jabbed me—” 

“There was a small beast in 
it,” I said. “Maybe it bit you.” 

“Whatever it was, it threw 
me off balance and I fell—” 

“I thought you were dead,” 
I said. My lips shook. I steadied 
them, folding them in between 
my teeth. “I thought you’d 
fallen clear to first level. I 
thought they’d say I altered the 
population. I thought—” 

“Shouldn’t think,” said Gill- 
yun. “See what it leads to? 
Especially if you really don’t 
think at all. Me fall? To first 
level? And you a Green! What 
do you suppose happened to 
Safety after you left training?” 

“Safety?” My jaw dropped 
and I reddened painfully. The 
Safety that stretched along the 
walls under every catwalk at all 
levels. “Oh,” I said very small. 

“Didn’t have time to fall 
right, so I half tripped out and 
got tangled up in the thing. By 
the time I got back on duty, 
you were gone. Naturally, 
because your shift was over. 
After shift, I went to Dorm and 
then the Square. Stem came 
roaring up, asking for you. You 
hadn’t come off shift. How’d he 
know? Only that you hadn’t 
met him. So? Maybe you had 


159 I 

other strings to strum! But this 
morning Sepal said you hadn’t 
dormed. When you didn’t come 
by shift time, I took yours and 
mine—” 

“Gillyun!” My fingers closed 
over his in my astonishment. 

“Well, foul footsteps pollu- 
tion!” he roared softly, his eyes 
carefully on Stem. “If duty 
officer found you missing, he’d 
alert Green headquarters and— 
and they’d find the Breach and 
the Spill, and large questions 
would be put— like why hadn’t I 
reported the Breach— and the 
Spill— and— ” His eyes slid to 
me, then away. “—And you, 
long since. So after my shift, I 1 
got Stem and we stormed the ! 
problem together until we came 
up with the idea that probably 
a fool kid like you— Logikids! 
Too smart’s dumb!— went Out! I 

“Stem insisted on coming up 
with me, but he was literally so j 
limp-legged by the time we got [ 
to the Spill that he couldn’t 
walk. So, son of a gun— the guy 
crawled! But he couldn’t force 
himself up to the Breach until 
he made me blindfold him. 
Then we— we went— Out!” 

The recollection was a 
painful gulp, and his voice 
shook as he went on. “The— 
noise was so much— and no 
lights— and the air pushing us! 
We called. We yelled. Our little 
sound just— wasn’t— in all that 
racket— Is it always like that? Is 
that Out?” he asked. 


160 

“No, I said, remembering— 
with pleasure!— and with a small 
something in the back of my 
, mind that was beginning to be 
insistent— “Some of it is good— 
and beautiful— but it changes. 
Fast. And then sometimes there 
are legless things—” 

“Legless!” He was startled. 
“Well, Stem had tripped out a 
couple of times already. The 
last time, his face was in the 
water. So I shoved him up 
against the Wall, and when he 
came back, he said maybe 
you’d be able to hear the 
Thrumthing. It had a different 
sound from all the air and water 
sounds. What’s that sudden 
light that kept jabbing?” 

“I don’t know,” I said. 
“Maybe a short circuit? And it 
made the noise—” 

'"Light making noise?” Gill- 
yun’s side-glance mocked me. 
“So he played the Thrumthing 
and after a while we heard you. 
And I went way, way Out—” 
His fingers were tight around 
mine. “And I found you and he 
kept strumming, and I’ll betcha 
he had tripped out again before 
we got back, but even so, he 
didn’t stop!” 

Gillyun lay back and looked 
around him. “How warm,” he 
whispered. “How warm and 
complete to be In.” We lay in 
relaxed silence and then he 
giggled. I moved my eyes to 
look at him. 

“The recycler,” he ex- 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

plained. “What will it do with 
all that earth the shower 
washed down? Bet it’s not 
programmed to process earth!” 

“Then we’re not safe, even 
now,” I said, half fearful, 
half— not, still waiting on that 
nudge in my mind. 

“Never safe,” agreed Gill- 
yun. “But, you know, even 
that’s more-so! A big more-so!” 

And it is— real more-so! And 
Mine! Because I began it. 
Began— I darkened my eyes 
with my bent arm. Now. the 
nudging was surfacing in my 
mind. As I had been trained, I 
put forth no effort, but let the 
nudging become a flowing. 

Things equal to the same 
thing are equal to each other. 
—In the Beginning, God. Time 
began at the Birth— The Baby 
and God both equal to 
Beginning— equal to each 
other— 

But then, if I began—! 

I felt my lips tighten as they 
stretched to a small smile. 
Well— no. No equality— only as 
the water spoke blue to the 
above that had first let its blue 
speak to the water. 

But Out once was good! And 
I think I felt and saw bits of the 
good while I was out. This 
feeling, like the question-ended, 
unresolved melody of the 
Strumthing, needs an answer. 

So, even if it’s cold and hard 
and unfinished and un-In, I 
want Out— again. Soon. 


V. 



BOOKS-MAGAZINES 


sc I ENTI FANTASY specialist: Books, 
magazines. Free catalog. Gerry de la Ree, 
7 Cedarwood, Saddle River, N.J. 07458. 


SPECIALISTS: Science Fiction, Fantasy, 
Weird Fiction. Books, Pocketbooks. Lists 
issued. Stephen’s Book Service, Post 
Office Box 321, Kings Park, L.I., New 
York 11754. 


ARTIST— WRITER'S Attic Treasure. Sam- 
ple Portfolio, $1.00. Bookways, 436-FS 
Center, Fort Lee, N.J. 07024. 


Any out of print book located. No 
obligation. Write William B. Spinelli, 32 
Elmwood. Crafton, Pa. 15205. 


FANTASY— SF books, detective fiction, 
Sherlockiana, Mostly hardcover first 
editions. Free catalogs. Aspen Bookhouse, 
RD 1, Freeville, N.Y. 13068. 


For Sale: Science fiction, westerns, others. 
Wanted: Doc Savage, Shadow, others. We 
buy collections. Send list, enclosing stamp. 
Magazine Center, Box 214, Little Rock, 
Ark. 72203. 


SCIENCE FICTION, MYSTERIES (new, 
hardcover.) Save to 70%. Free catalog. 
Spencer, 3016-D South Halladay, Santa 
Ana, Calif. 92705. 


SF— Fantasy magazines, books, paper- 
backs. List free. Collections also pur- 
chased. Robert Madle, 4406 Bestor Drive, 
Rockville, Md. 20853. 


100 page catalog. Arkham. Fantasy, 
Burroughs, Mirage Press, Science Fiction 
Pulp, paperbacks, comics. Send 75^ We 
also buy SF and comic collections. Send 
lists. Passaic Book Center, 594 Main Ave., 
Passaic, N.J. 07055. 


PHILOSOPHY: The Nature of Form in 
Process: Information processing from 

Plato to present (hardcover). 111 pp., 
$5.00, postage included. WRITERS: 
Publishing short-short SF with impact. 
Also, original, (scientific) philosophy 
books. THE PORTER LIBRARY, P.O. 
Box 1564, Burbank, Calif. 91505. 


MILLIONS HAPPIER through the applied 
philosophy in the book Dianetics: Modern 
Science of Mental Health by L. Ron 
Hubbard. Send $5.00 to Bookstore-FS. 
Founding Church of Scientology, 1812 
19th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 
20009. ’ 


NEW ARKHAM HOUSE, MIRAG^ 
DONALD GRANT books at DISCOUNT 
PRICES! Free catalog. Sunset-Vine Book- 
mart, 1521 North Vine Street, Hollywood, 
Calif. 90028. 


Science Fiction and Fantasy Books for 
sale. Gordon D. Barber, 35 Minneapolis 
Ave., Duluth, Mn. 55803. 


WANTED: LOVEC RAFT’S “Shunned 
House" (on Canterbury Laid watermarked 
paper only); W. H. HODGSON: all 
pre-Arkham firsts, especially “Glen Car- 
rig", “Carnacki”, “Borderland”; DINE- 
SEN: “Seven Gothic Tales” (NY 1934, 
mint/dj only); HECHT: “Kingdom of 
Evil’* (1924; ditto). Offers with FULL and 
ACCURATE bibliographic data and 
condition description to: SOLARIS,. 5 
Sloane Gardens, London SW 1, England. 


2800 magazines plus 600 duplicates, 300 
books, 800 pocketbooks. Includes first 
issuesi Astounding 470, Amazing 300, 
Wonders 139, Unknown 39. Also 
Quarterlies, Fantastic Novels/Mysteries, 
Avons, Planet, Startling, Oriental, Strange, 
Golden Fleece, Weird Tales (two 1924 
issues), many others. Price $3000. 
Removal at your expense. Day, 21250 
Meekland Avenue, Hayward, Calif. 94541. 


SPECULATIVE FICTION— new and used 
paperbacks and magazines. Change of 
Hobbit, 1101 Gayley, Los Angeles 90024. 


CLASSIC Science Fiction Criticism at last 
available. J. O. Bailey’s PILGRIMS 
THROUGH SPACE AND TIME is yours 
now in paperback, $3.50, prepaid. 
Greenwood Press, 51 Riverside Avenue, 
Westport, Conn. 06880. 


Books & Comics— 15C each list. David 
Hissong, Rt. 2, Howard. Ohio 43028. 


SPACE DRIVE HANDBOOK, description 
of novel advanced propulsion systems; 
Dean Drive, force field propulsion, 
electrogravitics, teleportation, etc. 200 
refs., $3.00 to JOSDRAD, R. O. Box 793, 
Pomona. Ca. 91769. 


Do you have something to advertise to sf readers? Books, magazines, 
typewriters, telescopes, computers, space-drives, or misc. Use the F&SF 
Market Place at these low, low rates: $3.00 for minimum often (10) words, 
plus 30^ for each additional word. Send copy and remittance to: Adv. Dept., 
Fantasy and Science Fiction, P.O. Box 56, Cornwall, Conn. 06753. 


Selling Comic Books, Pulps (Shadow, 
Amazing, Spider, etc.). Magazines, Radio 
Premiums etc. from 1900-1972. Catalogue 
50^ We also buy. Send selling list. 
Rogofsky, P. O. Box FF1102, Flushing, 
N.Y. 113S4. 


Book Readers! Save! Send title{s) wanted. 
S&S Books, FS-1, 199 North Hamline, St. 
Paul, Minn. 55104. 


Fantasy— SF— Mystery— Horror Paperbacks 
our specialty. Send wants. The Wbre- 
wolves, 325 Parkman, Altadena, Calif. 
91001. 


EDUCATION 


Earn College degrees at home. Many 
subjects. Florida State Christian College, 
Post Office Box 1674, Ft. Lauderdale, 
Florida 33302, 


HYPNOTISM 


LEARN WHILE ASLEEP. Hypnotize with 
your recorder, phonograph. Astonishing 
detaiis, sensational catalog free. Sleep- 
learning Research Association, Box 24-FS, 
Olympia, Washington, 98502. 


Hypnotism Revealed. Free Illustrated 
Details. Powers, 12015 Sherman Road, 
North Hollywood, California 91605. 


FREE Hypnotism, Self-Hypnosis. Sleep 
learning Catalog! Drawer G-400, Ruidoso, 
New Mexico 88345. 


PERSONAL 


Please, want any information concerning 
John H, Prociuk, Cold Lake, Edmington, 
Alberta. Pat Kinnan, Box 6734, Ft, Worth, 
Texas 76115, 


WITCHCRAFT, VOODOO HEAD-QUAR- 
TERS. Spells Galore! Occult Corres- 
pondence Club. Catalog, 25^ Cauldron, 
Box 403-FSF, Rego Park, N.Y. 11374. 


MISCELLANEOUS 


4000 years of armour and edged weapons, 
catalog 50)i M. H. Kluever & Son, 1526 N. 
Second Ave., Wausau, Wis. 54401. 


EXPLORE YOUR INNER CONSCIOUS- 
NESS electronically with a Biofeedback 
Instrument. Alpha, Theta, GSR, EMG, 
Temperature, Heart and Sexual Arousal 
Monitoring Units all available. As low as 
$5/wk. rental or $40/burchase. Send 25< 
for catalog. PHENOMENA, 60 East 12th 
Street, New York 10003. 


How to build a reflecting microscope. 
Instructions available for $2.50. Richard- 
son Optical Services, Box 1209, Winter 
Park, Fla. 32789. 


“Glowing Spirit Ball” Small $1.00, 
Medium $3.00, Large $9.00. Callisto, 
2419 Greensburg Pike, Pittsburgh, Pa. 
15221. 


FRIENDS INTERNATIONALLY. Free 
details. ATLANTIS, 31766 Lake, Avon 
Lake, Ohio 44012. 


ANTIGRAVITY DEVICE. Brochure 35^. 
AGD, Box 3062-FS, Bartlesville, Okla- 
homa 74003. 


Great science fiction radio dramas on tape. 
Catalog 50^ Golden Age Radio, Box 
8404-SF, St. Louis, Missouri 63132. 


ESP LABORATORY. This new research 
service group can help you. For FREE 
information write: Al G. Manning, ESP 
Laboratory, 7559 Santa Monica Blvd., Los 
Angeles, Calif. 90046, 


YOUR MARKET PLACE 

A market is people— alert, intelligent, active people. 

Here you can reach 150,000 people (averaging three readers per 
copy— 50,000 paid circulation). Many of them are enthusiastic 
hobbyists— collecting books, magazines, stamps, coins, model rockets, 
etc.— actively interested in photography, music, astronomy, painting, 
sculpture, electronics. 

If you have a product or service of merit, tell them about it. The price is 
right; $3.00 for a minimum of ten (10) words, plus 30i6for each additional 
word. To keep the rate this low, we must request remittance with the orden 

Post office box and number count as two words. No charge for zip code. 

Closing date is 10th of third preceding month; e.g., June issue, published 
May 1 , closes March 1 0. 

Fantasy & Science Fiction, Box 56, Cornwall, Conn. 06753 




Zhe Jmptint of Quality 

(since 1937) 


THE MAGAZINE OF 

Fantasi/ and 
S cience Fiction 


F&SF’s readers are both young (84% under 45) and 
educated (62% have attended college). When they want 
relaxation or stimulation in reading, they turn to the 
best works of imagination and to FANTASY AND SCIENCE 
FICTION. “F&SF regularly supplies the finest the field 
has to offer in the way of short fiction”— Clifton Fadimon. 
Compelling fiction, along with informative and stimulating 
features on Books (James Blisb.) and Science (Isaac 
Asimov), have earned F&SF its reputation as tops in the field. 







Portuguese 

Edition 


French 

Edition 


German 

Edition 


MERCURY PRESS, INC. • 347 East 53 Street, New York, N. Y. 10022